Energy Update: Week of September 11th

Friends,

This week, we first start with thoughts of the importance of 9-11, remembering the loss of that day 16 years ago, and thinking about how it changed us.

Now, we face our latest challenge at the peak of hurricane season (which was yesterday), Hurricane Irma, which slammed into Florida Saturday.  We still are unsure of what the full damage will be but it looks like it may be better than expected given the initial size and speed of the storm, as well as the damage in caused in the Caribbean.  Still another day or so to go as it moves up into Georgia and South Carolina.  Just as we did with Harvey and refinery outages, we will likely be able to help with impacts as it moves into Georgia.  Let me know if you need anything.

As we deal with Irma, we are still helping with Harvey in Texas.  I wanted to pass along the good work of the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association, which has set up a relief fund for energy-related needs of Harvey’s victims.  CFEBA is working with the EBA’s Houston chapter to assure the money all goes straight to helping people. Any and all tax deductible contributions are appreciated can be made to the CFEBA’s Relief Fund through the CFEBA online store or by mail or fax using the Hurricane Harvey Relief Donation Form.  There are many opportunities to help both Texas and Florida through the Red Cross and others, so please do.  Texas oil and gas companies have contributed $27.3 million toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with Valero among the donors.

Back in DC, official Washington really cranks back up this week.  Last week, Congress easily cleared a package today to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months.   This will likely clear to decks for a discussion of tax reform which is expected to see behind-the-scenes work at least until around Columbus Day.  Energy issues will play a role in the discussions and we will have all the bases covered.

After last week’s FERC nomination hearing for Kevin McIntyre and Rich Glick, it seems we may have a vote on them in the Senate Energy Committee as soon as late this week.  We also saw Bill Wehrum finally being named to head EPA’s Air Office late last week.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is happy to discuss Wehrum should you need background and comments.  He also sent a letter to the Senate Environment Committee Leadership recommending Wehrum.  (Can forward if you haven’t seen it.) Remember, Wehrum worked for Jeff when Holmstead headed the EPA Air Office.

On the hearing slate, tomorrow, House Energy holds the biggest action in a hearing about the electric grid reliability.  The follow up to the recent DOE grid study will feature an all-star cast of energy sector experts, as well as FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee, DOE’s Pat Hoffman and NERC’s Gerry Cauley.  Other hearings include Senate Energy on the National Labs tomorrow and House Energy looking at small business energy reg reform, Senate Commerce looking at AV Trucks and Senate Energy on carbon capture, all on Wednesday.

If you are following trade, tomorrow at the National Press Club at 2:00 p.m., the leading voice for the steel supply chain, the American Institute for International Steel, will release a new report that measures the impact of the 232 steel tariffs on the US economy, including impacts on manufacturing and agriculture.  And, on Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ian Mead, Assistant Administrator of EIA’s Office of Energy Analysis, to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017.  POLITICO also holds it Pro Policy Summit all day Thursday.

Speaking of trade petitions, I’m sure the solar trade petition will be a hot topic at the biggest event outside the Beltway, Solar Power International, which runs in Las Vegas today through Wednesday.  The event is the solar Industry’s biggest event and given Friday’s Q2 installation success story and  the Axios blurb about the White House leaning toward imposing solar tariffs (which mind you, seems to be a bit premature), folks should have a lot to talk about out in Vegas.

As many of you know, our friend Scott Segal has launched on a long-term Europe/Israel excursion. While he is out, (we will hear from him occasionally), please note that our full team is available for comment, political/policy insight and background.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Bill is well-respected and well-liked by the career staff at EPA – and by anyone who has ever worked with him. During his almost 6 years at EPA, he worked closely with career staff on a wide range of issues and was known for rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the details of the Agency’s regulations and permitting programs. From his work as an environmental engineer, his time at the Agency, and his many years of counseling clients, he has a comprehensive understanding of EPA’s regulatory programs and the many technical issues involved in implementing the Clean Air Act.”

Former EPA Air Administrator and Bracewell partner Jeff Holmstead in a letter to Senate Environment Committee Chair John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper supporting Bill Wehrum to be EPA Air Administrator.

“This report shows once again that solar is on the rise and will continue to add to its share of electricity generation.  Last year, solar companies added jobs 17 times faster than the rest of the economy and increased our GDP by billions of dollars. We are going to continue to fight for policies that allow the industry to continue this phenomenal growth.”

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, speaking about GTM Research’s Q2 report on solar installations.

IN THE NEWS

Wehrum Nominated to Head EPA Air Office – The White House nominated Bill Wehrum to serve as the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at EPA.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, who has known Wehrum for more than 20 years, worked with him previously at EPA when he headed the Air Office previously.  Holmstead said praised Wehrum as the only person ever to have worked on Clean Air Act issues as an environmental engineer at a major chemical plant, a young attorney in private practice, a senior policy maker at EPA, and the head of the environmental group at a major law firm.  On Friday, Holmstead sent a letter to Capitol Hill (which I can send): “Bill is committed to the goals of the Clean Air Act and to the rule of law. He is also a person of the highest integrity. I am confident that, within the framework established by Congress, he will work to protect public health and the environment while at the same time pursuing regulatory reforms that will reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.  Truly, there is no better person to serve as the Assistant  Administrator of EPA for Air and Radiation.”

Q2 Report: Solar Growth Strong, Trade Barrier Puts Growth At Risk – GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said the US solar market continued its years-long expansion in the Q2 of 2017 as the industry installed 2,387 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV), the largest total in a second quarter to date. This tops Q1’s total and represents an 8% year-over-year gain, said in the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.  All three U.S. solar market segments – commercial, residential and utility-scale – experienced quarter-over-quarter growth in Q2. The U.S. installed 2,044 MW of capacity in Q1. The non-residential and utility-scale market segments also posted year-over-year growth. The report did not change its forecast that the American solar industry would triple cumulative capacity over the next five years.  However, trade relief, which is being considered by the International Trade Commission, could radically affect the solar outlook and “would result in a substantial downside revision to our forecast for all three segments,” the analysis said.

Oil, Offshore Industry Pushes Back on MD Offshore Wind Amendment – Oil and Offshore groups are pushing back against an amendment from Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris to a Congressional spending bill.  Harris’ amendment would bar the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from processing site assessment plans and construction and operation permits for offshore wind projects that would fall within 24 miles of the Maryland shoreline. These groups have joined opposition from wind groups who see the Harris effort as a NIMBY move.  The Harris amendment faces opposition from Senate Democrats and may not make it into a final spending deal at the end of this year.  But the oil industry worries that it will create a troublesome precedent for the sanctity of federal offshore leases. The National Ocean Industries Association, for one, says if Congress interferes at this late stage in the process (years after BOEM issued leases for the projects) it could have a definitive effect on the wind industry — and broader energy industry as a whole — that is looking to develop in federally controlled waters. “If Congress can simply decide that the valid leaseholders’ rights can be violated by a whim, you have billions of dollars of investment that” may be at risk, said Tim Charters, NOIA senior director of governmental and political affairs.

Conaway Preps Carbon Capture Bill – Texas Rep. Mike Conaway is preparing to introduce bipartisan legislation this month that would extend and expand the Section 45Q tax incentive for carbon capture facilities. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) are leading a similar effort. The bipartisan push is a crucial part of a multi-pronged financing effort for carbon capture projects that also includes private-activity bonds that would be authorized in bills from Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas). While the bonds provide low-cost financing for carbon capture development, the 45Q credit can further complement that by driving equity investment in the projects. Together, these incentives have the potential to dramatically boost commercial carbon capture deployment in the U.S., which can lead to significant increases in enhanced oil recovery and other economic benefits.  Conaway’s bill would increase the value of the credit for new projects, while limiting eligibility to projects that would begin construction within seven years or who haven’t yet received the credit, according to his Sept. 6 letter to colleagues. The bill would also expand the range of projects that could receive the credit to also include carbon monoxide capture and other facilities.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Solar Power International Set for Vegas – Solar Power International (SPI) will be held today through Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.  SPI is a four day conference packed with education sessions, networking events and a wide range of exhibitions. The education sessions are led by industry leaders who share their expertise and ideas on prominent topics in the industry. As solar continues to evolve, SPI will keep you up to date on emerging technologies and policy changes.

Mayors to Look at Climate Locally – Today at 3:00 p.m. in 122 Cannon, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing about what cities throughout the United States are doing to protect their communities by investing in resilience. In addition to providing security, their actions are resulting in multiple side benefits: lower monthly expenses for households, businesses, and the city itself; the protection and restoration of natural resources; and local economic growth and job creation.  This briefing’s speakers will showcase some of the defensive actions their cities are taking to reduce the impacts of extreme weather, as well as lessons learned.  Speakers include Pittsburgh mayor William Peduto, Flagstaff (AZ) Sustainability Manager Nicole Antonopoulos Woodman and Cooper Martin, Program Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the National League of Cities.

Book Focused on NatGas Geopolitics – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a launch of Dr. Agnia Grigas’ new book, The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas.  As the world’s greatest producer of natural gas moves aggressively to become a top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the US stands poised to become an energy superpower—an unanticipated development with far-reaching implications for the international order. In this new geopolitics of gas, the US will enjoy opportunities, but also face challenges in leveraging its newfound energy clout to reshape relations with both European states and rising Asian powers.  In her new book, Dr. Grigas examines how this new reality is rewriting the conventional rules of intercontinental gas trade and realigning strategic relations between the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, and beyond.

UN Climate Meetings in NYC – The United Nations hosts its 72nd General Session starting tomorrow and as usual, climate change discussions will likely be part of the conversation.

CSIS to Look at NAFTA – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., CSIS and the George W. Bush Presidential Center host an event on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Speakers will discuss how lowering economic barriers has enabled North America to outperform other regions, and examine how an updated NAFTA could further improve the continent’s trade and competitiveness.  Keynote speaker will be Sen. Rob Portman, while a panel discussion, led by Andrea van Vugt, Sergio Gómez Lora and Matthew Rooney, with CSIS expert and Scholl Chair of International Business Scott Miller, will examine the potential impact of the ongoing NAFTA negotiations on the Americas and present key policy recommendations.

House Energy Panel to Look at Grid Reliability – The House Energy Subcommittee hold a hearing tomorrow on electric grid reliability. Witnesses include Acting FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Patricia Hoffman, NERC CEO Gerry Cauley, API’s Marty Durbin, Enel’s Kyle Davis (for SEIA), AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, NEI President Maria Korsnick and a National Hydropower Association rep Steven Wright.

House Science to Tackle Grid Resiliency – The House Science Committee holds a hearing on electric grid resiliency tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  Witnesses include Carl Imhoff of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Bill Sanders of the University of Illinois, Gavin Dillingham of the Houston Advanced Research Center and Walt Baum of the Texas Public Power Association.

Forum to Look at Carbon Pricing – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions releases a new brief and hosts a webinar featuring business leaders on how and why companies are putting an internal price on carbon emissions. The webinar will also review key opportunities, benefits, experiences, and challenges drawn from the upcoming C2ES report, The Business of Pricing Carbon: How Companies are Pricing Carbon to Mitigate Risks and Prepare for a Low-Carbon Future.

ELI to Look at Hydro Energy – The Environmental Law Institute host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. on the future of hydrokinetic energy in the United States.  While off to a slow start in the United States, ocean energy technologies (wave, tidal, and current hydrokinetic energy) are already at an advanced phase of development in other parts of the world.  Wave and tidal energy developers claim that federal subsidies and tax cuts are insufficient to promote research and development, and some of the most successful ocean energy companies have moved overseas.  Though the current cost of hydrokinetic energy is higher in the US .compared to other fuels, and harnessing tidal and wave power poses technical challenges, some backers assert that tides are a more predictable source of renewable energy. Should more resources and subsidies be put into hydrokinetic energy research? What environmental impacts do these technologies pose compared to other renewable energy sources? What regulatory barriers need to be addressed to support the development of the hydrokinetic technology sector in the U.S.?  Panelists will include FERC’s Annie Jones, Meghan Massaua of the Meridian Institute and Seán O’Neill of Symmetrix Public Relations & Communication Strategies.

Steel Users Group To Release Tariff Impacts Report – Tomorrow at the National Press Club 2:00 p.m., America’s leading voice for the steel supply chain – the American Institute for International Steel – will release a new report that measures the impact of the 232 steel tariffs on the US economy, including impacts on manufacturing and agriculture.  Drawing from a newly released report, economist John Martin will detail the impact that steel tariffs pose for U.S. ports, which make an outsized contribution to the U.S. economy. According to Martin’s report, 1.3 million jobs are currently supported by port activity related to imported steel, feeding nearly $240 billion in economic activity, or 1.3% of U.S. GDP in 2016.

Senate Energy to Tackle Energy Labs – The Senate Energy Committee’s Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. looking at fostering innovation from contributions of DOE’s National Laboratories.  Witnesses include WVU Energy Institute director Brian Anderson, Argonne National Laboratory interim director Paul Kearns, Duke Energy’s Anuja Ratnayake and NREL associated lab director Bill Tumas.

API Hold Discussion on State NatGas, Oil Industries – The American Petroleum Institute holds an event Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on the natural gas and oil industry’s impact in all 50 states. State-specific information will be provided along with brief remarks on the current state of the industry from API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

Senate Enviro To Look at Carbon Capture – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on expanding and accelerating the deployment and use of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. Witnesses will include NRG’s David Greeson, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead policy adviser advisor Matthew Fry and former DOE official Julio Friedmann, now with former Energy Secretary Moniz’s Energy Futures Initiative.

Senate Commerce Looks at AV Trucks – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at automated trucks and our nation’s highways.” The hearing will examine the benefits of automated truck safety technology as well as the potential impacts on jobs and the economy.  Including or excluding trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles has been a topic of discussion in ongoing bipartisan efforts to draft self-driving vehicle legislation. Witnesses include Colorado State Patrol Chief Scott Hernandez, Navistar CEO Troy Clarke, Ken Hall of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, National Safety Council CEO Deborah Hersman, and American Trucking Associations CEO Chris Spear.

House Energy Panel to Look at Small Business Energy Reforms – The House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on relief for small business.  The legislation focuses on reducing regulatory burdens on small manufacturers and other job creators.

House Resource to Mark Up Native American Energy Legislation – The House Committee on Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to markup several bills including to facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands, and for other purposes.

Groups Aim to Save EPA – A group of Environmental activists will hold a press briefing on Wednesday at Noon in the Zenger Room dubbed National “Save the EPA” Day.  The effort will be led by AFGE National Council 238 President John J. O’Grady, who will serve as the national spokesperson for the Save the U.S. EPA campaign. In addition to O’Grady, speakers will include Rep. Debbie Dingell, Mary Anne Hitt of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and NWF CEO Collin O’Mara.  After the event, they will march to EPA.

National Biodiesel Board Holds BioFry event on Hill – The National Biodiesel Board holds its annual BioFry event Wednesday at lunch on Capitol Hill.  D.C. food trucks will serve french fries and provide information about how the oil used to cook the fries can be recycled to make clean-burning biodiesel.

TNC to Discuss Electric Grid – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen, the Nature Conservancy holds a stakeholder dialogue to explore critical issues on the future of the electric grid.  Within the past decade, the electricity sector has seen advances in renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicles, microgrids and other new options for planning and operating the grid. These tools and resources are attracting hundreds of entrepreneurs – as well as their investment and jobs – into the electricity industry while increasing reliability, enhancing efficiency, and integrating modern distributed energy resources. As a part of our series of regional forums, we will explore the impact these changes are having on how we deliver electricity in the 21st Century.

Forum to Look at Japanese Nuclear Industry – CSIS will host a conversation on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. with Japanese Diet members and US experts on Japan’s plutonium policies, their regional implications, and the prospects for continued US-Japan nuclear cooperation beyond 2017.  Speakers will include Kyodo News Senior Editorial Writer Masakatsu Ota, House of Councillors Member Masashi Adachi, House of Representatives Member Seiji Ohsaka and former Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Thomas Countryman.

House Panel to Look at Venezuela Crisis – The House Foreign Affairs Panel on the Western Hemisphere will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at the crisis in Venezuela and its impacts, one of which is energy related.

POLITICO Hosts Pro Policy Summit – On Thursday at the Omni Shoreham, POLITICO holds its first Pro Policy Summit which will bring together key players from the executive branch, federal agencies and Congress as well as key innovators whose technologies are driving large-scale policy shifts. Among the Speakers will be our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Mike McKenna, Energy Editor Nick Juliano and many others.  A full agenda for the event is here and a list of speakers is available here.

Senators to Address CO2 Capture Forum – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will host a forum Thursday in 902 Hart Senate on innovations on carbon capture and use.  Experts will provide updates on these breakthrough technologies, and lawmakers will discuss ways to speed up their deployment.  Speakers will include C2ES President Bob Perciasepe, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, Sheldon Whitehouse, Shelley Moore Capito, John Barrasso and former DOE official Julio Friedmann, among many others.

EPA Panel Tackles NAFTA Issues – The EPA holds a meeting of its National Advisory Committee and the Governmental Advisory Committee Thursday and Friday to provide advice on trade and environment issues related to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

Great EE Day Set – The Alliance to Save Energy will host the Great Energy Efficiency Day (part II) on Thursday morning at the Columbus Club.  The event will reconvene energy efficiency’s leading influencers for another full day of advocacy and education.  Our friends Ben Evans of ASE, Daiken’s Charlie McCrudden and GM’s Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy Director Britta Gross will also speak, as well as keynoter Greg Kats, former Director of Financing in DOE’s EERE office.

CSIS to Host EIA Outlook – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ian Mead, Assistant Administrator of EIA’s Office of Energy Analysis, to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017).  The IEO2017 includes long-term projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Among other topics, Dr. Mead will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, regional energy demand growth, and key uncertainties that may alter long-term projections.

USEEE to Look at Battery Storage – The US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its monthly lunch on Friday at Carmines that will feature Jason Burwen, Policy & Advocacy Director of the Energy Storage Association.  While battery energy storage has long been sought as a “game-changer” for the power sector, rapid cost declines and increasing deployment in recent years suggest that the game is already changing.  Burwen will provide a general overview of the U.S. battery energy storage market and economics, as well as describe the core services and value to the electric grid that storage provides. Jason will also discuss the policy barriers to greater storage deployment, both in RTOs/ISOs and at state PUCs, and offer some thoughts on future policy discussions for enabling the power system to realize the full value of flexible battery storage.

IN THE FUTURE

National Drive Electric Week – Launches Sunday, September 17

TX Renewable Summit Set – On September 18th – 20th, the Texas Renewable Energy Summit will be held in Austin at Omni Southpark.  The summit will offer the latest insights into the market and hear from key players about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in Texas.  The falling price of solar panels is driving a surge in interest by public utilities and corporate customers in contracting for solar power, while a huge queue of wind projects is forming. As much as 16 GW of new wind and solar projects could come to fruition in Texas.  However, development and financing challenges must be surmounted to assure project success and bankability. Large quantities of solar may drive the dispatch curve and market prices in unpredictable directions.

IEA World Energy Report to be Detailed – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), next Tuesday to discuss the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2017. Energy investment in 2016 totaled 1.7 trillion dollars, around 2.2 percent of the global economy. The report covers critical details about energy investment across various energy sectors, sources, and regions. It also includes a special focus on a wide array of topics, including how digitization is impacting investment and employment, global investment in innovation, and the impact of emerging business models. The report assesses the importance of energy policy driving investment into energy efficiency and into facilities that ensure adequate levels of energy security.

WCEE Event to Feature Marriott Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee will hold a reception next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. At the Brattle Group featuring Dominica Groom, Senior Director, Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity at Marriott International, the world’s largest global lodging company.  Dominica provides global leadership through strategic direction, planning and execution for these important operational platforms. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the top “Leading Women”, under the age of 40, in the state of Maryland for her tremendous professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change. Additionally, she was also recognized as a “Top Influential Leader in Diversity” by the National Association for Minority Companies for her unwavering commitment to diversity & inclusion. Domenica will share her insights on her path to leadership, and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the sustainability and supplier diversity sector.

Forum to Look at Shale, Energy Security – On Wednesday, September 20th at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host a lecture on the topic of “Energy Security: New Market Realities” with Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International.  The rise of North America’s shale oil and gas production has changed the market dynamics, energy trade flow, and the elements of energy security.  In this talk, Vakhshouri will cover the changes in market fundamentals, energy trade flows, energy prices and policies, and their broader impact upon global and regional energy security. We will also touch upon the current political risks treating the oil and gas supply from countries such as Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

ITC Solar Trade Petition Injury Determination – September 22

Statoil to Focus on Climate Roadmap – On Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.

EMA Sets Annual Forum – The Environmental Markets Association holds its 21st Annual Meeting on September 27-29 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  The event focuses on trading, legislation and regulation of environmental markets. The agenda includes panel sessions covering Carbon / RGGI, what’s next after the Clean Power Plan, update on current developments and trends in other existing environmental markets such as the SO2 and Nox programs and a general REC Market Overview that provides an update on supply and demand as well as estimates on potential growth as the market faces pricing pressure.

WAPA to Feature Ford Product at September Event – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and the staff of Ford’s Washington, D.C. offices will hold a networking event that highlights Ford’s best-selling vehicle on Thursday, September 21 from 5:30 p.m.at Ford’s offices are located at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue in Suite 400.

CSIS to Host Statoil on Climate Roadmap – On Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.  This event is part of the Climate Change and the National and Corporate Interest series, featuring speakers to foster insightful discussions on a variety of corporate and country perspectives on the costs and benefits of their respective climate strategies.

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY WEEKSeptember 25-29th.  Hosted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Biomass Power Association, Clean Energy Business Network, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Hydropower Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

AEE Holds Michigan Energy Future Conference – The Advance Energy Economy will hold its 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference on September 25th College for Creative Studies in downtown Detroit.  The global market for mobility solutions is growing rapidly, building on innovation, information technology, and new transportation business models. Focusing on this convergence, the event, sponsored by our friends at DTE Energy, will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. While other conferences have explored these issues independently, the Michigan Energy Future Conference will be the first comprehensive look at the synergies between sectors, exploring opportunities for the U.S. to benefit as the pace of convergence between these sectors accelerates.

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28.  “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held on September 26-27 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.  The event hosts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets and focuses on the current trends and challenges shaping the business. Alpha Natural Resources CEO David Stetson is the keynote.

PA Shale Conference Set SHALE INSIGHT 2017 will be held on September 27th and 28th at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.  The event holds the most important discussions on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders. Influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders will work through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players.

CSIS, Fortune Smart Women Conference to Feature Ernst – On Friday September 29th at 9:00 a.m., the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative holds a conversation with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).  The topics will include North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, and other global hotspots with Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.  The event is – as always – moderated by Nina Easton of Fortune.

Geothermal Conference Set for Utah – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is holding GEOEXPO+ on October 1-4th at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, UT.  The meeting will be held in conjunction with the GRC Annual Meeting.

SEJ Set for Pittsburgh – Speaking of Pittsburgh, SEJ’s 27th annual conference is set for October 4-8 in Steel City.

Vets in Energy Forum Set – Veterans In Energy will hold a forum on October 5th through 7th at NRECA in Arlington. VIE provide transition, retention and professional development support to the growing population of military veterans who have chosen energy careers.  Speakers will include Chris Hale of GI Jobs and Gen. John Allen, former Dep Commander of US Central Command.

Bloomberg Hosts Sustainability Forum – Bloomberg holds its 3rd annual Sustainable Business Summit on October 12-13th in its New York offices to discuss how companies are yielding positive returns for investors, creating sustainably valuable products and processes, and developing innovative sustainable business models.  Uniquely positioned at the intersection of sustainable business and sustainable investing, the summit will explore the challenges and even greater opportunities emerging across industries.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

 

Energy Update: Week of April 18

Friends,

With all the action last week, one might think that official Washington was trying to get everything possible it can done before Memorial Day.  Man, a lot of stuff happened last week including the FAA bill losing its energy/tax wings, the “other long-suffering” energy bill springing back to life, the final well control rule, GHG opposition briefs, a new/final-er (I know, it’s not a word) mercury rule and API outlining its items for the Party Platforms this summer.

The demise of the FAA tax credits was offset late last week by the sudden resurgence of the Senate Energy legislation.  The FAA failure seemed to catch too many headwinds after it just kept taking on more luggage/passengers than it could handle.   As for the new/old energy bill, many of the controversial provisions were just yanked out, so it appears that it may now be headed for final approval as early as next week.

I know many of you are following yesterday’s OPEC meetings in Doha, where 18 OPEC and non-OPEC nations gathered to try and freeze oil production at January levels – only to see talks collapse over Saudi Arabia’s insistence that Iran join the agreement.  Our friends at SAFE can speak to a number of the issues.  Check in with Ellen Carey at 202-461-2381.

It is a busy week on Capitol Hill.  Tomorrow, Senate Environment is hosting Gina McCarthy on the EPA Budget, Senate Energy Looks at oil/gas price determinations and House Homeland Security Looks at Pipeline Security.  USFWS head Dan Ashe talks ESA Designations/de-listing challenges as both House Oversight and House Resources hold three separate hearings on the topic this week (my colleague Eric Washburn is excellent on this topic: 202-412-5211).

On Wednesday, the Christian Science Monitor hosts another breakfast with DOE Secretary Moniz and Wilson Center talks hydrogen society/vehicles with Japanese experts while the Hudson Institute looks at Rural Broadband issues (something our friends at NRECA know very well).  On Thursday, POLITICO hosts a great energy event featuring my colleague Scott Segal, who will join Sen. Angus King and Rep. David McKinley on a panel to discuss the future of energy.

And so while Friday is Earth Day, it is also the big day for Secretary of State John Kerry when he will join other world leaders in New York to sign the Paris Climate agreement.  Sounds Like Gina McCarthy may not join him because she may have to be at the Senate Indians Affairs field hearing in Phoenix.

Finally, as I mentioned last week, today is the last day to file your taxes for 2015, so don’t forget since they gave us 3 extra days…And the Interior Five-Year Offshore Drilling Plan public hearing started this morning in NOLA.  Here are the GEST Comments from Lori LeBlanc.  Another hearing is Wednesday in Houston and then next Tuesday in DC.

 

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Well Control Rule Released – BSEE released its long-awaited well control rule on Friday, just days before the six-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon accident.  The rule seeks to address safety concerns unearthed in the aftermath of the BP spill.  Interior claims to have addressed the concerns of industry enumerated by API and other groups in extensive comments on the proposed rule but that remains unclear.  issued a year ago.  The rule will go into effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

GEST LeBlanc: Rule Raises Significant Concerns – Lori LeBlanc, head of the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) said their experts are currently reviewing the final Well Control Rule to determine what changes BSEE has made and whether industry’s recommendations were incorporated into the final rule.  “GEST shares BSEE’s intent of adopting a rule that enhances safety and environmental protection and we hope that this final rule will have addressed those technical flaws that would have resulted in unintended consequences and could have made offshore operations less safe,” said GEST Executive Director Lori LeBlanc.  “We are very disappointed to see the Interior Department release such a major rule without resubmitting it for public comment and consultation. Given how far off the mark the previous version was, the sheer complexity of the issues at hand, and the lack of substantive dialogue with industry experts during this process, we are concerned that this rule may not be ready for prime time.  LeBlanc added that GEST remains concerned about the economic impacts of the rule if several of the provisions have not been corrected, which could result in Gulf energy companies that operate globally deciding to shift investment and jobs to other parts of the world.

WoodMac Study Shows Rules Likely Impacts – Remember, earlier this year, Wood Mackenzie analysts study the rule’s impacts on drilling activities and the economic impacts and the results were not so good.  The study found that if the rule as proposed could reduce industry investment in the Gulf by up to $11 billion annually; reduce government tax revenues up to $5 billion annually through 2030, jeopardizing coastal restoration efforts; and place over 100,000 jobs at risk by 2030.  “We are concerned that Interior’s decision to go forward with this rule will lead to stranded assets in the Gulf, harming U.S. energy security while dealing a potentially devastating blow to Gulf communities stung by the industry downturn,” said LeBlanc.

Court: BSEE Can’t Hold Contractors Liable – In other offshore drilling news from late last week, a Federal court in New Orleans ruled definitively that BSEE cannot enforce against offshore contractors.  BSEE’s claimed authority over offshore contractors that have no leasehold or other rights from the federal government has been in serious contention since the Macondo incident.  That’s when BSEE reversed decades of consistent practice and policy to try to regulate entities that Congress never intended.  Several offshore contractors have disputed BSEE’s arrogation of enforcement authority and pursued the matter through administrative appeal and federal court action.  This decision marks the first federal court decision on the question, and it definitively states and explains the limitations of BSEE’s authority.  This decision brings the agency back to core principles of Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and puts to rest the many uncertainties raised by BSEE’s abandonment of longstanding legal policy and precedent.  My colleague Kevin Ewing (202-828-7837) can address the issue in depth.

Opposition Reply Briefs Filed in GHG Case – While it is headed for oral arguments in June, another round of briefs from opponents of the rule were filed on Friday.  Petitioners representing the 28 states and numerous trade groups and industry supporters responded in the D.C. Circuit on Friday to EPA’s defense of the Clean Power Plan. Most argued the rule isn’t legal saying “EPA ties itself in knots, torn between touting the Rule’s significance and downplaying the extraordinary nature of what it seeks to do. On one hand, EPA describes the Rule as ‘a significant step forward in addressing the Nation’s most urgent environmental threat,’ necessary for ‘critically important reductions in carbon dioxide emissions’ from fossil fuel-fired power plants.  On the other hand, EPA claims the Rule is not ‘transform[ative],’ because ‘industry trends’ will result in ‘significant reductions in coal-fired generation … even in the Rule’s absence.'”   Intervenors representing six corporations, including the bankrupt Peabody Energy, and the Gulf Coast Lignite Coalition, a group of power and coal companies, filed an intervenor reply brief outlining some similar arguments.

NRECA Weighs In – Rural Coops filed a reply brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concerning the Clean Power Plan litigation.  NRECA Jeffrey Connor said the EPA has crossed a line by assigning itself vast regulatory authority that surpasses anything ever contemplated by Congress. “The agency wants to have it both ways, touting the Clean Power Plan as a major environmental milestone, while downplaying to the point of absurdity the rule’s unprecedented legal overreach. The fact is that EPA didn’t produce a rule simply to reduce emissions—it crafted a radical plan to restructure the U.S. power sector.”

Mercury Rule Finished by EPA – EPA today issued its Supreme Court-ordered fix for an error in its 2012 mercury pollution regulation.  The new “appropriate and necessary” finding – this time factoring compliance costs into EPA’s considerations – still concludes it’s proper to regulate mercury emissions from power plants. EPA would have written essentially the same regulation if it had made that finding when it originally considered the issue, it says, and thus the mercury rule will stay in place.

Read the finding here.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead said as expected, EPA responded to the Supreme Court’s decision in the MATS case (known as Michigan v EPA) with a new regulatory finding:  even taking into account the $9.6 billion a year in regulatory costs, it is “appropriate” to regulate coal-fired power plants under the air toxics provisions of the Clean Air Act.  In the Michigan case, the Supreme Court struck down EPA’s earlier finding because the Agency had refused to consider the cost of regulation when it determined that it was “appropriate” to regulate.  EPA said that the price tag is still a bargain because MATS will provide public health benefits of at least $37 billion a year.  But there is likely to be litigation over this new finding because virtually all of these claimed benefits come from reducing a type of pollution that EPA is not authorized to regulate under the air toxics provisions – so called “fine particle pollution.”  Holmstead says the Clean Air Act provides a very detailed regulatory process for regulating fine particles – a process that places clear limits on EPA’s authority.  He adds that opponents of last week’s finding are expected to argue that EPA is trying to circumvent those limits by using MATS to require reductions in fine particles that go well beyond what EPA is authorized to do under the fine particles provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Legal Group Claims Internal Emails Show Coordination by AGs on Climate –New York AG Eric Schneiderman and other politically-aligned AGs secretly teamed-up with anti-fossil fuel activists in their investigations against groups whose political speech challenged the global warming policy agenda, according to e-mails obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal).  E&E Legal released these emails on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report about a January meeting, in which groups funded by the anti-fossil fuel Rockefeller interests met to urge just this sort of government investigation and litigation against their political opponents.  After the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) criticized these AGs’ intimidation campaign, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Claude Earl Walker — one of the AGs working with Schneiderman — subpoenaed 10 years of CEI records relating to the global warming issue.  The e-mail correspondence between Schneiderman’s staff, the offices of several state attorneys general, and activists was obtained under Vermont’s Public Records Law, and also show Schneiderman’s office tried to obscure the involvement of outside activists.  His top environmental lawyer encouraged one green group lawyer who briefed the AGs before their March 29 “publicity stunt” press conference with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore not to tell the press about the coordination.  At that event the AGs announced they were teaming up to target opponents of the global warming agenda. The AGs went as far as trying to claim privilege for discussions and emails even with outside groups in this effort to go after shared political opponents, including each state that receives an open records request immediately alerting the rest to that fact.  In that case, according to the Schneiderman office’s draft, every state was to immediately return any records to New York.  To its credit Vermont objected to that as, naturally, being against state laws.  See the full slate of issues and emails here.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

5-YR Plan Public Meetings Start—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold public meetings in New Orleans and Houston today and Wednesday on its five-year plan.  There will be another in Washington next Tuesday on April 26th.  Recently, Interior rolled out the new five-year plan for drilling which set the scope of drilling for the years between 2017-2022. Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential during a news conference hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance. “The total economic impact of Gulf energy is immense.  It creates jobs in every state in the U.S., with some 430,000 jobs nationwide estimated to link to Gulf energy activity, along with tens of thousands here in Louisiana alone. Those of us on the Gulf Coast are proud to produce the energy to fuel America and we recognize that Gulf oil accounts for nearly one-fifth of our nation’s oil production. The U.S. Treasury directly benefits to the tune of over $5 to $8 billion dollars each year from energy production in the Gulf — making it one of the largest revenue streams for the federal government.”

CEI to Discuss Green Climate Fund – Today at Noon, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will host a lunch on Capitol Hill to discuss what can be done about two Obama administration efforts to circumvent Congress and push its climate agenda: the Paris Climate Treaty and the Green Climate Fund.  The Obama Administration announced it will sign the Paris Climate Treaty along with 130 other nations at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on April 22, 2016. The State Department also announced that the United States will officially become a party to the agreement later in the year. How can the United States become a party to the agreement without going through “its own national legislative requirements” to ratify it, as specified by the UN? CEI experts will discuss what is wrong with this agreement and how Congress can respond.  Congress did not appropriate any money for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for FY 2016. Nonetheless, in March the State Department re-programmed $500 million from the Economic Support Fund account to the GCF. Initial contributions by the United States and other developed countries are meant to prepare GCF for full funding of $100 billion per year beginning in 2020. CEI experts will discuss what the Green Climate Fund is and why Congress should not fund this initiative.

JHU to Look at Enviro Diplomacy –Tonight at 6:00 p.m., the Johns Hopkins SAIS program will host a forum on what environmental diplomacy entails and how it differs from standard notions of American diplomacy.  The forum will also look at the tactics necessary within negotiating historic agreements.  Speakers featured include former State Dept negotiator Dan Reifsnyder and SAIS alum Lynn Wager.

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 tomorrow at the Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the uncertainties of shale resource development under low price environment.

Forum to Look at California EV, Grid Connections – Infocast is holding its 2nd Annual EVs & the Grid Summit in Long Beach Marriott in Cali tomorrow looking at transport and power convergence.  Automakers will share their views on the market, latest models, and how to overcome adoption hurdles.  Third-party solution providers will assess partnership opportunities and requirements for equipment, software, energy storage & conversion and on-site renewables.  Policy-makers & utilities will hash out potential business models for capturing new value streams from electrification and a digital, distributed grid.  Port & airport authorities, municipalities, fleet managers and commercial building owners will share perspectives and explore partnering opportunities with solution providers.

Senate Enviro to Look at EPA Budget – The Senate Environment Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. examining the President’s FY 2017 budget request for EPA.  The hearing will feature EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Senate Energy to Look Oil, Gas Price – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing to examine challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments.  Witnesses with include Columbia Energy expert Jason Bordoff, Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute, Michael Ratner of CRS and several others in the oil/gas industry.

House Resources/Oversight to Look at ESA – The  House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow on recent changes to Endangered Species Critical Habitat Designation and Implementation.  The hearing will feature Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.  My Colleague Eric Washburn is a great resource on the topics.  Also on Wednesday and Thursday, the House Oversight Committee looks at barriers to ESA de-listing after a species has recovered.  That hearing will be at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday and 9:00 a.m. Thursday in 2154 Rayburn.

House Homeland Security to Look at Pipeline Security – The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) works with pipeline stakeholders to secure this critical infrastructure.  Witnesses will include our friend Andy Black of the AOPL, as well as DHS TSA security official Sonya Proctor, National Grid’s Kathleen Judge for AGA and CRS Energy/Infrastructure expert Paul Parfomak.

Jewell to Speak on National Park Week – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at the National Geographic Society, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will deliver a major speech on the Obama Administration’s approach to conservation and the need for a course correction in order to ensure healthy lands, water and wildlife for the next century of American conservation. Following Jewell’s remarks, Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Magazine Susan Goldberg will hold a one-on-one conversation with the Secretary on threats facing public lands and Jewell’s vision for the future of conservation. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will offer opening remarks to celebrate the 100-year milestone of America’s national parks, focusing on connecting with and creating the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. As part of National Park Week (April 16-24), visitors can enjoy all national parks – from iconic landscape parks like Acadia National Park in Maine to urban cultural sites like San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California – for free.

Forum to Look at European Energy Security – Reuters will host a forum tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. on Europe’s Energy Security.  From worries about Russia to the collapse of global energy prices and the rise of renewables, what will Europe’s energy security picture look like in the years to come? This event will be contacted under Chatham House rules.  Reuters global affairs columnist Peter Apps will Moderate a panel that includes Roric McCorristin of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, energy analyst Patricia Schouker and Belgian deputy Chief of Mission Thomas Lambert.

Moniz to Headline CSM Breakfast – Following its last breakfast with EPA’s Gina McCarthy, the Christian Science Monitor hosts a live interview with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the impact of COP21 on Wedensday at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Regis.  The theme of the event will be the state of global energy and climate four months after last December’s historic summit in Paris, and just days before leaders convene in New York City for the official signing ceremony.  The talk with the Secretary will be followed by an expert panel featuring WRI President Andrew Steer, Georgetown’s Joanna Lewis, WRI’s Andrew Light, and C2ES’s Elliot Diringer.

Forum to Look at Rural Broadband – The Hudson Institute will host a discussion on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. about closing the urban-rural economic gap through enhancing rural broadband. Hudson Senior Fellow Hanns Kuttner will present a new Hudson report, The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband. Joining him to discuss the industry’s impact and prospects will be.  There will also be a panel featuring  Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA; Nancy White, CEO of a rural broadband company in Lafayette, Tenn.; and rural broadband consultant Leo Staurulakis.

Senate Approps Panel Looks at EPA Budget – Following up on Senate Enviro’s review of the EPA budget, the Senate Appropriations panel on Interior/Environment will take Its turn with EPA head Gina McCarthy.

House Science Looks at Fusion – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing that will be an overview of Fusion Energy Science.  Witnesses will include Dr. Bernard Bigot, Director General, ITER Organization; Dr. Stewart Prager, Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; and Dr. Scott Hsu, Scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

NRC Commissioners Head to House Energy Panel – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the NRC Fiscal Year 2017 budget.  Commissioners will testify.

WCEE to Look at Solar Power Growth – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Wednesday looking at solar power growth over the next 25 years.  Forecasts for US solar power penetration in the next 25 years range from almost inconsequential levels to an exponential progression in which solar accounts for nearly all power generation. While these are two extremes and the actual path is likely somewhere in between, WCEE will look “under the hood” at some key projections and the assumptions behind them, based on the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions’ paper of US Solar Power Growth through 2040.  Following that,  the event will take an up-close look at what the DOE’s SunShot initiative is doing to reduce the soft costs of solar and ensure that solar is fully cost-competitive with other energy sources by 2020.   Speaker will include Suzanna Sanborn of Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions and Elaine Ulrich, Program Manager of DOE’s SunShot.

Forum to Look at Electricity Pricing Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at time-variant electricity pricing as part of our ongoing series, “Electricity in Transition.” For a century, the retail rate structure in the United States has remained virtually unchanged. Nearly all retail customers in the U.S. pay a flat rate regardless of the time of day or the actual cost of electricity. While this pricing structure insulates consumers from price volatility, it may also lead to inefficiency in resource allocation. Enabled by the increasing deployment of smart meters, some states have been experimenting with new retail rate designs that reflect the fact that wholesale electricity prices vary over the course of the day. Time-variant pricing allows utilities and regulators accurately reflect market dynamics for customers, encouraging more efficient resource distribution. But do consumers actually respond to changing prices and Can time-variant pricing impact the adoption of new distributed energy technologies?   The panelists will discuss the objectives of moving to time-varying electricity rates, including the advantages and disadvantages of different rate structures, the distributional impacts of time-variant pricing, and the broader energy, environmental, and economic impacts of time-variant pricing. In addition, panelists will discuss recent experiences with time variant rates in different jurisdictions.

Segal, McKinley Headlining POLITICO Energy Forum – POLITICO hosting a forum Thursday, April 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the W Hotel focused on America’s Energy Agenda.  The event will look at new prices and new policies and examines the future of energy. Topics will include fluctuating energy costs and the calculus for Washington regulators and innovation.  Strategic priorities for building energy infrastructure and potential changes for a new administration.  Featured speakers include Sen. Angus King, Rep. David McKinley and my colleague Scott Segal, as well as BLM’s Neil Kornze, former AWEA head Denise Bode and BCSE’s Lisa Jacobsen.

Forum to Look at Hydrogen Economy – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Embassy of Japan will host a forum on hydrogen.  Dubbed “the energy of the future” by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has been investing heavily on the potential of hydrogen as an alternative energy source. With zero emissions, it is an element that is plentiful, and the prospect for hydrogen-powered cars and hydrogen fuel-cell use at home is alluring. But from advancing the technology to developing the needed infrastructure, the cost to make hydrogen society a reality is high. The event will be a discussion ahead of Earth Day on the prospects of using hydrogen energy, and the outlook for cooperation between the United States and Japan to make hydrogen society a reality.

Panel to Look at Advanced Nuclear Reactors – The Senate Environment Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing Thursday at 9:45 a.m. on enabling advanced reactors and legislation targeting advancing It.  Witnesses will include NRC’s Victor McCree, former NRC commissioner Jeff Merrifield, NEI’s Maria Korsnick, and several others.

USEA to Host Penn St Expert on CO2 Transformation – The US Energy Assn will host a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at turning CO2 into sustainable chemicals and fuels.  Capturing CO2 and converting it into chemicals, materials, and fuels using renewable energy, is an important path for sustainable development and a major challenge in 21st century. Concentrated CO2 can be used for manufacturing chemicals (lower olefins such as ethylene and propylene, methanol, and carbonates), and fuels (such as liquid transportation fuels or synthetic natural gas). Penn State expert Chunshan Song will be the featured speaker.

NGV Leader to Address NatGas Roundtable – On Thursday, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host Matthew Godlewski, President of NGVAmerica will be the guest speaker at its next luncheon at the University Club. Godlewski’s topic will be: “Natural Gas Vehicles in Today’s Marketplace.”

Forum Look at Enrichment, Processing – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on limiting enrichment and processing of nuclear materials.  The United States has long had a policy of discouraging the further spread of dual-use technologies that can be used either to make fissile material for nuclear weapons or for peaceful uses like reactor fuel – that is, uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing.   The international community, on the other hand, has long resisted serious limits on enrichment and reprocessing beyond restraining nuclear trade.  And yet, the case of Iran illustrates just how close a country can get to a latent nuclear weapons capability in the absence of legally binding restrictions.  In light of these challenges, how well is the U.S. policy working?  What additional tools might we expect to employ in the coming years? Speakers will include Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State and Edward McGinnis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy, among several others.

EARTH DAY April 22 – Not only is this Earth Day, but it is expected to be the UN Paris Climate Agreement signing day in New York.  Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to be in New York as the President will be overseas.

Senate Indian Affairs Field Hearing to Blast EPA – While McCarthy was originally expected to join Kerry, there is rumor that she may have to be in Phoenix at the Senate Indian Affairs field hearing at 12:30 p.m. examining EPA’s unacceptable response to Indian tribes.  I guess Sen. McCain is the spoil sport on the signing.  While McCarthy may not come, EPA’s assistant administrator of Land/Emergency Management Mathy Stanislaus will for sure attend.  Navajo President Russell Begaye, Navajo Council member LoRenzo Bates and Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie, whose reservation is also downstream from Gold King Mine, will also testify.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Forum to Look at Energy Policy In the 2016 – Election The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a day-long seminar on Tuesday, April 26th looking at U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections.  The event will feature panel discussions on the importance of bipartisan Energy Policy, oil/natgas production, distribution and refining, the electric power sector, the future of transportation and State and City leadership. Each election cycle affords policymakers an opportunity to assess the state of the nation’s energy sector in the context of shared objectives and within the context of a dynamic global energy landscape.  U.S. energy policy is driven by economic, security, and environmental priorities, but fundamental tensions continue to exist between those priorities and among the various constituencies involved in the nation’s energy sectors. The purpose of this conference is to inform the current debate on U.S. energy policymaking and assess what areas are ripe for action.

CSIS to Look at Financing Production Resilience – On Thursday, April 28th, CSIS Energy and the National Security program will host a conversation with former Vice Chairman of NY Mercantile Exchange Albert Helmig, Energy Intelligence Energy Casey Sattler and Betsy Graseck of Morgan Stanley, moderated by our friend Kevin Book.  Oil and gas producers have responded to six consecutive calendar quarters of price weakness by high-grading production, downsizing workforce and paring back capital spending. Financial investors’ continuing appetite for oil industry debt – and, more recently, equity – has continued to support U.S. production, too. Unexpectedly resilient output and stubbornly low commodity prices continue to erode corporate resources, however, raising several imminent questions.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

BPC to Focus on Water/Energy Book – On Thursday, April 28 at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center holds a book session on “Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival” by author Michael Webber and a discussion about the interconnections between energy and water, their vulnerabilities, and the path toward a more reliable and abundant future for humanity.  Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. A new book offers a fresh, holistic way of thinking about energy and water—a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure the continuing sustainability of both.

Forum to Look at LNG – The Atlantic Council hosts the US LNG Exports and European Energy Security Conference on Thursday April 28th.  The event takes place shortly after the inauguration ceremony of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana and will discuss the implications of US LNG exports on European energy security in the context of climate action post Paris COP21 and changing global energy markets.  There is an excellent list of great speakers, including a wide array of Foreign ministers from European countries on a panel moderated by our FP friend Keith Johnson.  A second panel moderated by our friend Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal will include API’s Marty Durbin and DOE’s Paula Gant among others.

Sustainable Factbook to Be Released – On Friday, April 29th at Noon in B-338 Rayburn, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that will provide information on the rapid changes occurring in the U.S. energy sector. The findings of the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” show that the U.S. energy sector, and the power sector in particular, have experienced unprecedented growth in newer, cleaner sources of energy.  The briefing will feature an overview presentation by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on the findings from the Factbook, followed by a moderated industry panel with senior executives from a range of clean energy industries.  Speakers for this forum include BNEF’s Colleen Regan, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, Owen Smith of Ingersoll Rand, Covanta’s Paula Soos, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association.

WCEE to Look at Paris Implementation – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Friday, April 29th at Noon on the role of states in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.  Maryland Public Service Commissioner Anne Hoskins, DOE Deputy Director for Climate, Environment & Energy Efficiency Judi Greenwald and EPRI’s Steve Rose  will all , Senior Research Economist, Electric Power Research Institute all look at the options states considering to continue de-carbonizing the electricity generation sector and what role of regulators will play in achieving these goals.

IEEE to Host Transmission Technology Conference – IEEE will hold its annual Transmission PES Conference in Dallas at the Convention Center May 2-5.  The electric grid is undergoing transformations enabled by the integration of new technologies, such as advanced communication and power electronic devices and the increasing penetration of distributed generation. Such changes introduce a new paradigm in the cultural infrastructure of power systems, which requires a great deal of cooperation between utilities, power generation companies, consumers, governments and regulators.

 

EIA to Present International Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday May 11th at 9:30 a.m. to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016).  The IEO2016 includes projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source through 2040; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.  Among other topics, Sieminski will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, energy demand growth among developing nations, and key uncertainties that may alter the long-term projections.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

 

CSIS to Hold Development Forum – The second annual Global Development Forum (GDF) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on May 19. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector.  The 2016 GDF seeks to address the complex issues highlighted by the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will examine the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of global trends including rising incomes, rapid urbanization, uneven economic growth, and widespread unemployment. In particular, discussions will explore ways in which official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions can improve livelihoods, strengthen governance, and facilitate access to key resources including food, energy, and infrastructure.

 

Oil, Gas Forum Set – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on June 8th and 9th at the Cosmos Club in DC.  More on this as it gets closer, but you can go here: http://www.energystreamcmg.com/

 

 

 

Energy Update: Week of April 4

Friends,

Opening Day is here, despite the weather in some places (the Yankees-Astros have been postponed).  Three games launched yesterday, but everybody else goes today including the O’s first pitch against the Twins at 3:05 p.m. at the Yard.  The Nationals open in Atlanta today at 4:05 p.m. and launch at home Thursday.  Get the full MLB Opening Day Schedule here.

Tonight, the College Basketball season ends, crowning either Villanova or North Carolina as champ after Saturday’s semi-final blowouts.  One week to go until the NHL hockey playoffs and this weekend is the NCAA Frozen Four.  And speaking of weeks, this is the 80th Masters Week.  The PGA’s first major of the year is ready to go and top players Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are smarting to become repeat winners of the famous “Green Jacket.”  Action launches today and tomorrow with practice rounds, Pro-Am/Par 3 contest on Wednesday and then Showtime Thursday.

With Congress returning this week, we can expect today to start off with some bluster (and that’s not just because it was windy in DC over the weekend).  It is because the White House will roll out a major report on climate change and health, an always dubious link despite what EPA’s Gina McCarthy, WH Science Advisor John Holdren, and the US Surgeon General will say during the presser.

House Remains out this week on Spring District Work Period as Wisconsin sets primary votes tomorrow.  As for the Senate, they’ll have hearings Wednesday in Senate Ag on Rural Development (or in other words: Renewable Fuels) and Senate Environment hosts NRC Commissioners.  Then Thursday, Senate Energy tackles the USGS (look for some discussion of earthquakes) and Senate Environment will discuss water infrastructure (expect a major discussion of Flint, MI).   In limbo on the schedule remains the energy legislation mired in Senate “holds” and controversy regarding Flint aid and offshore drilling issues.  Insiders seem to think the chances of moving it are narrowing.

Off the hill, there are a bunch of events detailed below with the headliner being a Hudson Institute forum on Wednesday to look at the future natgas economy that features T. Boone Pickens and former VA Rep/Sen/Gov George Allen.  Also, EPA chief Gina McCarthy does another Christian Science Monitor breakfast tomorrow morning at the St. Regis.  Also Lisa Murkowski and Angus King (and Others) talk Arctic Energy at the Wilson Institute Wednesday.  And up in NYC today and tomorrow, Bloomberg New Energy Finance is hosting its annual Energy Summit which features Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and ClearPath Foundation’s Jay Faison among the speakers.  Later in the week, the Wall Street Journal hosts its annual ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara with Fanning, Duke CEO Lynn Good, Chris Brown of Vestas and BNSF CEO Matt Rose all speaking among many others.  Our WSJ friends Kim Strassel, Lynn Cook, Russ Gold, and Amy Harder will be among the interviewers.

Finally, speaking of NRC, after 12 years running the public affairs shop there, our friend and loyal update reader Eliot Brenner is retiring. Eliot was hoping to get the word out so we could all throw him a big party…oops, um, not that… (we will anyway) but because NRC has posted the job on USAJobs over the next month.  It is a career SES position, and they’re advertising to increase the likelihood of getting someone hired before he turns out the lights July 31st.   Congrats Eliot and if you’re interested check out the listing.

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

Ivanpah Meeting Output Targets – Just after reports of its demise, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System solar project in California more than doubled its output last month, putting it on pace to meet its obligations to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.  Ivanpah, the world’s biggest solar-thermal power plant, generated 67,300 megawatt-hours electricity in February, up from about 30,300 a year earlier, according to NRG Energy Inc., which operates the faculty and co-owns it with BrightSource Energy Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.  Mitchell Samuelian, NRG’s vice president of operation for utility-scale renewable generation, said the improved performance shows the plant’s technology is viable and that the facility is on track to fulfil its contractual obligations. The release of the February output data comes 12 days after California regulators gave NRG and its partners more time to avoid defaulting on a contract with PG&E for failing to supply power they had guaranteed.  “The February numbers were well in excess of what we were targeting,” Samuelian said in an interview. The plant experienced a Normal ramp up that caused it to fall short of production targets for the first 24 months in operation. Last week, California regulators gave the project until Aug. 1 to avoid defaulting on its agreement with PG&E if it pays the utility for past shortfalls in generation and continues to meet future targets.  The facility is on pace to generate 102% of its target capacity for March.

EPA Moves on HFCs, But Rejects Enviro Industry Agreement – The White House Office of Management and Budget approved a proposed EPA rule that aims to phase out certain refrigerants and other hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that contribute significantly to climate change.  The EPA intends to solicit public comment on the regulation and finalize it by August.  EPA also is proposing to curtail usage of certain HFCs.  Various new limitations would be placed on the use of certain ozone-depleting substances in multiple industrial sectors. The EPA released the proposed rule under the Clean Air Act’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) and said it would particularly affect hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in the refrigeration and air conditioning, foam blowing, and fire suppression and explosion protection industries.  The HVAC industry, which has been a leader on this issue said AHRI and NRDC negotiated an agreement on this issue that would have set the date of implementation as January 1, 2025.  The EPA did not accept this agreement, stating in the NOPR that it needs additional analysis to justify that date.  While AHRI and other stakeholders will be working with member companies to supply the analysis EPA is asking for, it is nonetheless a disappointment to the HVAC industry because they and NRDC worked diligently to reach the compromise that was presented to EPA, with each side giving something along the way.  For the EPA to reject the agreement sets a bad precedent and could discourage further collaboration among stakeholders on these very important issues.

Colorado Gov Says Suspending Ozone Rule Great Idea – During a speech to the Colorado Petroleum Council late last week, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said it would be a great idea for EPA to suspend its stricter new ozone rule.  The comments were captured in a video distributed by the Center for Regulatory Solutions. Several state in the region including Colorado will have trouble meeting the new tougher standards because g significant background emissions. “So I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard,” Hickenlooper told a panel in Denver.I mean, just with the background [ozone], if you’re not going to be able to conform to a standard like this, you are leaving the risk or the possibility that there will be penalties of one sort or another that come from your lack of compliance. … I think if they suspend the standards, it’s not going to slow us down from continuing to try and make our air cleaner.”

Key House Republicans Blast Interior Well Control Rule – A new letter from House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Ken Calvert late Friday blasted new design requirements for offshore oil and gas wells, saying it will “severely limit” energy development on the outer continental shelf.  The letter says the rule will have severe “negative unintended consequences.”  “Allowing for OCS development and promoting a safe operating environment are not mutually exclusive and it is vitally important to continue improvements and updates to existing safety regulations,” Bishop and Calvert wrote. “However, these rules must be done well and done right.”  As you know, our friends at GEST recently worked with Wood Mackenzie on a study that looked at the costs of the new proposed rule on drilling and its impact on economic activity, employment, energy supplies and federal offshore revenues.   As well, newly –elected Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards also weighed in with the White House challenging the rule.

Supporters Hit Docket with Brief in Favor of GHG Rules – Supporters of EPA GHG rule for power plants flooded the docket with “friend of the court” briefs on Friday.  The US Chamber’s Energy Institute has it all covered here with links to nearly every brief on both sides.  My colleague Scott Segal offered these comments for the record on the Congressional brief filed by 200 Members.  This group is countered by a larger group of 34 Senators and 171 members of the House that filed a brief pointing out the many legal and policy shortcomings of EPA’s rules on February 23, 2016:

  1. The environmentalist Congressional brief mirrors the EPA in confusing the alleged importance of CPP in achieving climate objectives with the actual structure and precedent of the Clean Air Act.  They begin with overheated rhetoric describing the Act as a declaration of war, allowing EPA essentially to do whatever it is it wants.  Of course, many of these same members rejected overbroad “war” rhetoric in virtually every other context.  The claim of necessity also stands in marked contrast to statements from senior EPA officials and even the White House itself that CPP was not necessary for the US to meet its national obligation to greenhouse gas reductions established through the Paris process.  The Administration and activists have both been emphatic in stating that reauthorization of tax credits coupled with market trends makes CPP unneeded to achieve US goals.
  1. The brief makes inappropriate comparisons between CPP and past rule makings found to be within EPA discretion.  The truth is that EPA has never proposed as radical a departure from the letter of the Clean Air Act or past precedent.  The Supreme Court reminded in the UARG case, EPA cannot simply discover vast reservoirs of new authority from long-extant obscure provisions without explicit authorization from Congress.  Filing a brief is at best post hoc rationalization of Congressional intent not supported by actual legislative history.

The more these member stress the importance of the subject matter of its rule, the stronger the case that Congress should use its actual legislative power to define any explicit authorization around which a national consensus can be built.

  1. Much like EPA, the environmentalist Congressional brief makes much of the Supreme Court’s finding in AEP v. Connecticut which found that federal common law was displaced by federal regulatory action on the subject of climate change.  The Court ruled that such tort claims are displaced when federal legislation authorizes EPA to regulate emissions.  But nothing in the AEP case created within Section 111(d) the type of authority EPA seeks here.  Nothing, for example, allowed the Agency to proposed a rule that goes beyond the fence line of the regulated source in contravention of 40 years of Clean Air Act precedent.   And of course the same decision, in footnote 7, also takes explicit notice of the fact that regulation under Section 112 preempts subsequent use of Section 111(d) under the Clean Air Act, meaning that the MATS rule prevents the use of authority cited for CPP.
  1. Bottom line:  CPP remains in serious legal trouble on statutory, constitutional, administrative and implementation grounds.  We think any fair panel of judges are likely to be deeply disturbed by EPA’s regulation, regardless of the subject matter it purports to address or the overheated rhetoric with which it is defended.

PUC Commissioners Brief Counters Pro-EPA Commissioners – Remember, with a brief mention of a few well-known pro-EPA former PUC Commissioners (Sue Tierney, Ron Binz, etc) filing a briefing, you should note that another bigger, more diverse group of PUC Commissioners weighed in against the EPA rules as an overreach.  The 18 former state public utility commissioners that represented the interests of consumers in over a dozen states said lost in the litigation of EPA’s Power Plan is its permanent and irreversible impact on state regulators and state institutions that will only leave state utility regulators to present customers with the bill for its implementation.   Former Colorado PUC Commissioner (who also has some good Binz stories) Ray Gifford (303- 626-2320, rgifford@wbklaw.com) is a great resource.

New Web Page on GHG Rules Underscores Coal Impacts on Cost, Reliability – Speaking of CPP, Here is another great site to follow.  Over the past several years, the EPA has worked to remove coal-based electricity from our nation’s energy mix for what amounts to negligible environmental benefits. To counter the attack, our friends at ACCCE launched a web page – Coal Facts – that utilizes data that highlights reliable, affordable coal-based electricity. The page provides a handy resource for the full story.

Capitol Crude Looks at Trump Oil Import Ban – Looking for a little Oil politics? Even though Donald Trump’s proposal to ban US imports of Saudi Arabian crude appears unfeasible, but is the plan already chilling investment in the US energy sector and damaging fragile ties with the Saudis and other overseas allies?  On this week’s Capitol Crude podcast, Platts senior oil Brian Scheid talks with David Goldwyn, Tim Worstall, George David Banks and James Koehler on the impacts of Trump’s proposed Saudi import ban.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BNEF Energy Summit Features Kerry, SoCo Fanning – Bloomberg New Energy Finance is hosting at 8th annual Energy Summit today and tomorrow in New York City and will include among its speakers Secretary of State John Kerry, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, ClearPath Foundation founder Jay Faison and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter among others.  See the full agenda and speakers here.

Forum to Discuss Ukraine Energy Security – This afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Ukraine energy with its resident fellow Anders Åslund and Ukrainian Parliament Energy committee Member Olga Bielkova.  In his report on the strategic challenges facing Ukraine’s energy sector Dr. Åslund argues that energy sector reform is essential to the survival of Ukraine, as it will assist Ukraine’s fight against corruption, minimize its dependence on Russian gas, and improve Ukrainian national security. The simultaneous support of and pressure from the transatlantic community is critical for Ukraine to complete the reform process in due course to smooth the social costs of the transition, stabilize its energy market, create a favorable environment for indigenous energy production, and improve the country’s overall economic growth prospects. The panel of experts will discuss the findings and recommendations of Dr. Åslund’s report.

Energy Conference Set – The Energy Smart Conference will be held at the Gaylord today through Wednesday.  The event features top enterprises, energy service providers, and technology leaders to rethink the industry and refine energy management.  Main speakers will be Colin Powell, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us Daniel Pink and Green to Gold Author Andrew Winston.

McCarthy to Address CSM Breakfast – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will again revisit the Christian Science Monitor breakfast series at the St. Regis Hotel at 9:00 a.m.  You know what to expect, but this time with a heavy dose of health impact issues given today’s White House Health-Climate Report.

CSIS to Discuss China Energy Outlook – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and Freeman Chair in China Studies will host Xiaojie Xu, Chief Fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, to present the World Energy China Outlook 2016. The annual outlook presents a Chinese perspective on world energy trends with a focus on domestic energy development and global implications. The 2016 edition compares the implications of a Current Policies Scenario (CPS), examining recently released government policies, as well as an Eco-friendly Energy Strategy (EES), an alternative set of policies emphasizing a new pattern of economic development with increasing quality of growth, an optimized energy system, higher efficiency and lower-carbon development. Jane Nakano, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

RFF to Launch Revesz/Lienke Book – Resources for the Future will hold a book launch tomorrow for the book, Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal” by Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke.   Pro EPA advocates Revesz and Lienke argue that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and the Clean Power Plan are the latest in a long line of efforts by presidential administrations of both parties to compensate for a tragic flaw in the Clean Air Act of 1970—the “grandfathering” that spared existing power plants from complying with the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions limits applicable to new plants. At this discussion, Revesz and Lienke will clarify their arguments and a panel of experts will weigh in on the inherent challenges of Clean Air Act regulations and the future of environmental policies such as the Clean Power Plan.  A panel of experts will discuss the issues.

Forum to Look at Transition in Coal Country – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosts a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. that will explore how traditionally coal-reliant communities can transition, diversify and strengthen their economies as the United States moves toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. The event will discuss the funding opportunities and work being done at the local, regional and federal levels to help these communities grow vibrant local economies. This webinar will highlight the range of actions being taken by various coal-reliant regions to diversify and develop new jobs and sources of revenue.

FERC’s Honorable to Headline Energy Times Forum – The Energy Times will hold a conference on California Renewables at the Fairmont San Francisco on Wednesday.  Keynoters will in broad strokes paint a picture of what is happening in the world of electric utilities, energy infrastructure and the power grid today. They will suggest what will be needed in the future and they will begin our consideration of what it will take for us to get there.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable and Edison International’s Andrew Murphy, among many others.

Forum to Look at Arctic Energy Issues – The Institute of the North and The Wilson Center, in association with the Arctic Parliamentarians, Arctic Economic Council and Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee, will host a forum on Wednesday to consider ways in which northern governments and businesses can advance broadly beneficial and responsible economic development.  The day-long forum will address the potential for Arctic economic development, the barriers, and the paths toward greater economic prosperity. This Forum is dedicated to improving the business environment in the American Arctic, which clearly intersects with the economies of other Arctic nations, other regions of the United States, and multiple sectors of the economy. Panel discussions and presentations will focus on areas of mutual interest and concern, including trade, infrastructure, investment, risk mitigation, and improving the living and economic conditions of people of the north.  Confirmed speakers include Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Angus King, as well as Arctic Economic Council Chair Tara Sweeney, Icelandic Arctic Chamber of Commerce rep Haukur Óskarsson, Julie Gourley of the US State Department, Canada’s Susan Harper, Norway Parliament Member Eirik Sivertsen, Denmark Parliament Member Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Russian Sen. Vladimir Torlopov and several other business officials.

Pickens, Allen to Discuss NatGas Future – The Hudson Institute hosts a forum on Wednesday to look at the future natgas economy.  America’s abundance of shale natural gas represents a historic opportunity for the United States to achieve a burst of clean economic growth—and gives American energy security and independence a new meaning.  Will natural gas serve as an essential bridge in the coming era of clean renewable energy sources? Four panels of experts will discuss how the transition to natural gas as a leading power source and industrial feedstock will impact key sectors of the American economy.  George Allen, former governor and U.S. senator from Virginia, will keynote the conference. Energy entrepreneur, financier, and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens will take part in a lunchtime dialogue on America’s natural gas future with Hudson Senior Fellow Arthur Herman.  Other speakers will include our friends David Montgomery of NERA, Michael Jackson of Fuel Freedom Foundation and ACC’s Owen Kean among others.

Senate Agriculture to Look at USDA Rural Development Programs – Next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy will hold a hearing on USDA Rural Development Programs and their economic impact across America.  USDA’s Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary of Rural Development will testify along with Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill, our friend Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw and Cris Sommerville, President of Dakota Turbines in North Dakota.

Senate Enviro Hosts NRC Commissioners on Budget – The Senate Environment Committee will hold an oversight hearing next Wednesday on the President’s FY 2017 Budget Request for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. All NRC Commissioners will testify.

RFF to Look at Deforestation – Resources for the Future will hold its First Wednesday Seminar at 12:45 p.m. that focused on the opportunities for and challenges of reducing supply chain deforestation using private and regulatory strategies, potential synergies among these strategies, and linkages with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).  The event will feature leading companies, nongovernmental organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives using and promoting these approaches.

WCEE Lunch to Look at EE in Commercial Buildings – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch on Wednesday at Noon  on new environmental policies, efficiency programs, climate change mitigation, and building codes.  These items have been crucial to the design of sustainable infrastructure and development of energy efficient products, services and practices for commercial buildings and industrial plants. The market offers a wide assortment of programs, services and products but…which are the most suitable for commercial buildings or industrial plants?  Panelists share their experience on energy efficiency programs implemented in different facilities. Smita Chandra Thomas will discuss how energy efficiency in commercial buildings can contribute to climate change mitigation and the eco-system that makes it possible.  Julie Hughes from IMT will present on building energy performance policies–discussing how local, state, and federal government are crucial for making the built environmental more energy efficient.  Alana Hutchinson will give an overview of ENERGY STAR best practices for establishing a comprehensive energy management program for buildings and plants. Corrine Figueredo will explain EDGE, an innovative tool developed by the IFC to help build a business case for Green buildings in more than a 100 countries.

SoCo’s Fanning, Duke’s Good, UN Sect, Others Headline WSJ ECO:nomics Forum – The Wall Street Journal hosts its annual ECO:nomics Conference in Santa Barbara on Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday.  The event brings together a diverse group of global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, environmental experts and policy makers for ECO:nomics 2016 in Santa Barbara. This year’s conference will give attendees the opportunity to join the national debate over energy policy, sustainability and climate. Speakers for the annual big shindig include Southern’s Tom Fanning, Duke’s Lynn Good, former UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Ford’s Mark Fields.

Green Symposium Set for DC – On Thursday and Friday at UDC, the 8th annual World Green Energy Symposium (WGES) will hold an educational and informational exchange platform featuring top decision makers and thought leaders who are seeking energy usage savings solutions and/or to increase economic development through the use of sustainable technologies and products. The WGES is a rare opportunity to meet firsthand some of the most innovative and advanced technologies to meet those demands, whether an innovator, investor, purchaser, or decision maker in new energy.

EPA Sets Biomass Workshop – States and stakeholders have shown strong interest in the role biomass can play in state strategies to address carbon pollution. Many states have extensive expertise in the area of sound carbon- and GHG-beneficial forestry and land management practices, and exhibit approaches to biomass and bioenergy that are unique to each state’s economic, environmental and renewable energy goals.  To support efforts to further evaluate the role of biomass in stationary source carbon strategies, EPA is hosting this public workshop on Thursday to share their successes, experiences and approaches to deploying biomass in ways that have been, and can be, carbon beneficial.

Senate Energy to Look at USGS – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to conduct oversight of the U.S. Geological Survey.  Expect a strong dose of earthquake discussions following last week’s release on new reports looking at man-made earthquakes in place like Oklahoma.

Forum to Discuss Energy with Presidential Advisors – The STEM Capitol Hill Power Lunch Series returns on Thursday at Noon in B-338 featuring a debate with energy, tech, and education advisors to Presidential candidates. The event features a debate with education, tech, and/or energy policy advisors to leading presidential candidates. You’re invited to enjoy a lively conversation about substantive policy issues affecting the growth of our innovation economy while networking with congressional staff and officials from federal and local government agencies along with tech and energy sector executives, other STEM professionals, policy advocates, educators, and students.

NAS Report to Look at Extreme Weather Issues – On Thursday evening at the Marian Koshland Science Museum the NAS will hold a forum on a new report on extreme weather that examines the current state of the science of attribution of extreme weather events to human-caused climate change and natural variability. The report considers different attribution approaches and different extreme event types, and identifies future research priorities.  Report Chair David Titley of the Penn State and committee member Adam Sobel of Columbia University. Remarks will be followed by open audience Q&A, moderated by our friends Heidi Cullen of Climate Central and AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein.

HuffPost Podcast to Be Featured – Our friend Dana Yeganian, former Progress Energy PR person, is hosting a Happy Hour on Thursday at NBCUniversal’s office at 300 NJ Ave featuring the new HuffPost podcast Candidate Confessional.  CC Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Chekis will provide an inside look at life on the losing side of the campaign trial.

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Discuss Enviro Book – The CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development will host a forum on Next Monday at 10:30 a.m. for an armchair conversation with Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker, authors of The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation. In their new book, the authors argue that manufacturing rustbelts in Europe and the United States are transforming as universities, large corporations, and policymakers collaborate to foster innovation ecosystems and empower visionary entrepreneurs.  As these regions become new centers of economic dynamism there are lessons to be learned for any country or region seeking modern economic competitiveness.

JHU Energy Program to Discuss Energy in Eastern Mediterranean – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum next Monday at 5:00 p.m. featuring Sir Michael Leigh is a senior fellow with the German Marshall Fund and runs GMF’s program on Eastern Mediterranean Energy. He was formerly director-general for enlargement with the European Commission and has held other senior positions at EU institutions for more than 30 years. He has taught at John Hopkins SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy, as well as the University of Sussex and Wellesley College.  Leigh will focus on energy and geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Forum to Look at Energy Innovation in Defense Sector – The Atlantic Council and The Fuse, a group within the think Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. on energy technology and innovation in the U.S. defense sector. The demand for energy security and evolving geopolitical risks have already impacted the strategic approach of defense institutions, which are actively developing technology and policy alternatives to respond to these challenges. By integrating expertise in both security and energy issues, institutions such as the United States Navy provide a critical perspective in efforts to secure a reliable and sustainable energy supply. Speakers will include Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy – Energy, Installations, & Environment, Pew’s Clean Energy Initiative Director Phyllis Cuttino and the Atlantic Council’s Dan Chiu,

CSIS Forum to Look at Energy Developments in Brazil, Venezuela – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. on regional energy developments in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil and Venezuela. Our expert panel will examine the political dynamics and economic outlook, highlighting analyses of political issues impacting the oil sector, including production profiles and the outlook for investment.  Following the initial presentations, the panelists will engage in an informal conversation focusing on the latest developments in both countries, and the impact on domestic policy as well as oil markets more generally.

Rogers Headlines Clean Energy Challenge Forum
– The Clean Energy Challenge is hold a conference in Chicago on April 12th featuring capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives to recognize cleantech innovation.  The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 60+ businesses throughout the Midwest.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Ripple Foods CEO Adam Lowry.

Gates to Receive Honor – CSIS and the Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy will host the Inaugural Zbigniew Brzezinski Annual Prize and Lecture next Tuesday, April 12th at 5:00 p.m.  The Zbigniew Brzezinski Annual Prize honors the legacy of Dr. Brzezinski by recognizing and promoting the importance of geostrategic thinking with a transcending moral purpose.  This year’s inaugural Prize Recipient is former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. The mission of the Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy is to examine the unique interaction of history, geography, and strategy, with a goal of developing policy-relevant analysis and recommendations. The Institute seeks to further the study of geostrategy and to develop a new generation of strategic policy thinkers in the United States and abroad.

USAEE Washington Energy Conference Set for Georgetown – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) and the Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club will host its 20th Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference on Wednesday, April 13th at Georgetown University.   The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Bill Hogan, of Harvard University and our friends Monica Trauzzi of E&E TV, former NYT reporter Matt Wald of NEI and GDF Suez exec Rob Minter.

API Head to Look at Energy Policy Recommendations – American Petroleum Institute (API) President & CEO Jack Gerard will make a presentation of the 2016 Platform Committee Report on Wednesday, April 13th at the W Hotel at 8:30 a.m.  The morning’s briefing will reveal API’s energy policy recommendations to the platform committees of the Democratic and Republican parties and set the stage for the corresponding panel discussions to follow.

Ethanol Supporters to Hold Washington Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol is organizing a series of briefings and meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with congressional offices to advocate for continued support of ethanol fuel. The meetings will take place at the Washington Court Hotel and on Capitol Hill.

Forum Looks at Renewables in EU – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 13th at 10:00 a.m. on renewables deployment in the EU.  The European Union has decided an ambitious program to transform its energy system. A binding target of at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 has been endorsed – compared with 1990 emission levels. Further targets include doubling the share of renewable energy in total consumption and increasing energy efficiency. Due to strong governmental support, the share of renewables in total EU power demand has doubled within the last ten years, from 15% in 2005 to 30% in 2015. But this strong development has a price. Net subsidy paid by the customers to plant operators reached, alone in Germany, which has one of the most ambitious programs in favor of renewables, $23 billion in 2015 and $140 billion in total for the period 2000 to 2015. This has led to power prices in the EU, which are twice as high as the U.S. average. Power producers, too, have to face new challenges.

CSIS Forum Looks at Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Forum Looks at Philanthropy, Climate – On Wednesday, April 13th at 5:00 p.m., the German Marshall Fund of the United States will hold a forum that will explore the ways philanthropy and government can link the equity and climate policy agendas at the city, national, and global level. The dialogue will feature speakers working on this issue in the United States and Europe and build a discussion led by GMF as part of the Paris Climate Summit for Local Leaders.

Ocean Film Screening Set – George Mason University will host a special screening of “Ocean Frontiers II” Wednesday, April 13th 5:45 p.m. in the Founders Hall Auditorium, followed by a Q & A on ocean planning with a panel of regional and international experts. In a region steeped in old maritime tradition, the film tells the story of a modern wave of big ships, offshore wind energy and a changing climate, and how people are coming together to plan for a healthy ocean off their coast.  The interactive panel discussion with regional and international experts includes Beth Kerttula of the National Ocean Council, John T. Kennedy of DOT’s Maritime Administration, GMU’s Chris Parsons and Amy Trice of Ocean Conservancy.

House Transpo Look at Grid Security – On Thursday, April 14th, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management will hold a hearing on Blackout preparation and managing the aftermath of a cyber-attack or any other failure of the electrical grid.

More 350K Celebrate Science Expo – The 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest and only national science festival, will be held next Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center in DC.  The event features nationwide contests and school programs, including the popular ‘Nifty 50’ science speaker program and X-STEM Symposium. The Festival will culminate in a Grand Finale Expo with Sneak Peek Friday kicking off the weekend on April 15th.  More than 350,000 attendees will celebrate science at the Expo, and engage in activities with some of the biggest names in STEM, hear stories of inspiration and courage, and rock out to science during our incredible stage show performances.  See full agenda here.

Skulnik to Speak on MD Solar Law – On Sunday, April 17th at 2:15 p.m. in the Aspen Hill Library, our friend Gary Skulnik will discuss the new Maryland community solar law.  Skulnik is the founder of a new social enterprise called Neighborhood Sun, www.neighborhoodsun.solar. As President of Clean Currents, Gary started the movement for clean power in Maryland and the region.  Last week, Skulnik spoke at a similar event in Silver Spring.

Group to Host Nuclear Week Activities – The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability is hosting its 27th annual DC Days Sunday April 17th through Wednesday April 20th to voice concerns about nuclear weapons, power, and waste.  Of course, you can always get that info with our friends at NEI.

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at the Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the uncertainties of shale resource development under low price environment.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

Energy Update: Week of March 28

Friends,

Hope you enjoyed the incredible basketball over the weekend now with the Final Four set.  And there was some pretty good college hockey as well with the Frozen Four also locked in.  The only thing that remains is to lock down the final two spots in the Women’s Final Four.

This weekend was also a beautiful couple days for seeing DC’s famous “cherry blossoms” which are in full force.  The only problem with heading out to the Tidal Basin are the throngs of people who are doing the same sightseeing.  Hopefully today’s early rain won’t put a damper on the cherry blossoms stay.

Last week also found new songs headed in the National Archives, including a couple of my favorites: the Metallica Classic Master of Puppets, Billy Joel’s Piano Man and Bobby Darin’s Mack the KnifeMack is one of my karaoke favorites!!!

Seems like a slow week with yesterday’s Easter holiday and the Congressional Spring break.  I hope you all enjoyed your family for a few days break.  Regardless, there are still a few events that you may want to take a look at below, including PHMSA Chief Marie Therese Dominguez talking pipeline safety, the agency’s impending reorganization and what that means for its pipeline safety program at CSIS on Wednesday at 11 a.m.   DOE’s Paul a Gant also speaks to the NatGas Roundtable Thursday and The Nuclear Energy industry host a summit Wednesday through Friday at the Grand Hyatt.

Briefs are also due today for EPA responding to lawsuits seeking to block its new GHG rules.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead says the EPA has 42,000 words to explain itself and respond to charges that the rule is illegal or economically disastrous.  And tomorrow, states, utilities, green groups and clean energy interests supporting EPA file their briefs, and Friday is the deadline for EPA’s amicus supporters.  Briefing will wrap up April 22nd.  Also, for the first time ever, the U.S. Geological Survey is chronicling the potential hazards of human-induced earthquakes in a report being released today, perhaps my colleague Jason Hutt (202-255-2042) can help.

And for your radar screen:  OPEC and major non-OPEC producers are set to meet in Doha in less than three weeks to, possibly, freeze output at January levels.  On this week’s Platt’s Capitol Crude, Michael Cohen, head of energy commodities research at Barclays, talks about what impact this plan could have on global and US supply, prices and exports.

Finally today, the local newspaper in our area, the Annapolis Capital, ran a great piece on my daughter Hannah and her budding officiating career.  It is a very nice article and I’m proud of the work she has done to earn it.

Opening day just a week or so away…  Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

New LA Dem Gov Edwards Urges Review of BSEE Well Control Rule – The newly–elected Democratic Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards wrote a letter last week to the Obama administration urging them to revise its rule tightening standards for blowout prevention systems and other well controls for offshore drillers.  Edwards said the soon-to-be-released rule, could devastate Louisiana’s economy.  In a letter delivered to OIRA chief Howard Shelanski during their meeting, Edwards said the BSEE’s rule as proposed issues “highly prescriptive technical mandates” that won’t end up improving offshore safety. Instead, it will lead to less drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, draining both federal and state coffers.  “No state was hit harder by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy than Louisiana, and we are all deeply committed to preventing a similar disaster from happening again,” Edwards wrote. “It is essential today that regulators and industry participants alike take the most constructive path possible to improving the safety of offshore operations. I do not believe the current draft of the Well Control Rule is the best path forward.”

McConnell Urges States to Stand Down On GHG Rule – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote to the nation’s governors last week urging states to stand down because of the Supreme Court’s recent nationwide stay of the Obama Administration’s GHG rules.  McConnell called the plan a massive regulatory plan that will not have a meaningful impact on global emissions but will punish states’ most vulnerable citizens and ship middle-class jobs overseas.  The letter follows one he sent governors in March 2015, urging them to carefully review the consequences of this deeply-misguided plan and to reject submitting a state implementation plan to the Obama Administration until the courts rule on its legality.  In the letter, Senator McConnell wrote, “The court’s action in State of West Virginia et.al. v. EPA et.al. will likely extend well beyond this administration, providing a welcome reprieve to states while simultaneously underlining the serious legal and policy concerns I wrote you about last year. In that letter I advised you to carefully consider the significant economic and legal ramifications at stake before signing your states up to a plan that may well fall in court, given that it was unclear — in my view, unlikely — such a plan could survive legal scrutiny… This is precisely why I suggested a ‘wait-and-see’ approach with respect to the CPP last year… even if the CPP is ultimately upheld, the clock would start over and your states would have ample time to formulate and submit a plan; but if the court overturns the CPP as I predict, your citizens would not be left with unnecessary economic harm. Nor would your states be left with responsibility for billions in unnecessary investment obligations.”  The full text of Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s letter is HERE.

 

BrightSource Launches New Technologies Deployed at Israel’s Ashalim Solar Thermal Plant BrightSource Energy, a leading concentrating solar power technology (CSP) company rolled out several new, advanced solar field technologies currently being deployed at the 121 megawatt (MW) Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station located in Israel’s Negev Desert. The fourth generation of BrightSource’s solar field technologies features improvements to the heliostats, solar field communications network and solar field control system. These technologies are designed to further optimize power production, reduce construction time and lower project costs.  The 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, located in California’s Mojave Desert, is the world’s largest CSP tower project and is entering its third year of operation. The Ashalim project, which is now under construction, builds on the experience gained at Ivanpah. BrightSource’s technologies being deployed at Ashalim are designed to deliver performance improvements in all areas of solar field operations.

 

What Are They?  – The technologies will reduce cost and improve performance dramatically.  They include:

 

New Heliostat Design: With fewer components and an easier assembly, new heliostats cost less and can be installed much faster. Each heliostat consists of four flat, low-iron glass mirrors that provide maximum reflectivity for the life of the project. The new streamlined design maximizes the total reflective surface within the constraints of the mechanical drive systems and allowable wind load.

 

Dual-Axis Trackers Now Powered by the Sun: Each heliostat is individually controlled and features an integrated, dual-axis tracking system capable of 360 degree positioning. Movement is powered by a small photovoltaic panel and rechargeable lithium-ion battery power supply unit. This system significantly reduces electrical wiring and cabling in the solar field. Long-term reliability is also improved.

Industry First Wireless Solar Field Communications and Control: BrightSource’s solar field integrated control system (SFINCS) manages the distribution of energy across the solar receiver using real-time heliostat-aiming and closed-loop feedback. At Ashalim, each of the 50,600 heliostats positioned in the 3.15-square-kilometer solar field will communicate wirelessly with the SFINCS. The wireless system reduces cabling by as much as 85 percent in the solar field, further reducing costs and accelerating the construction schedule.

 

Ashalim Construction Update – With more than 1,000 construction workers on site, the construction of the Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station is on track. To date, more than 22,000 pylons have been installed in the solar field and more than 6,000 heliostats have been assembled and installed onsite. Additionally, the power block is starting to take shape with the majority of the earthwork completed, and construction of the 250 meter tower has begun. The facility is scheduled to be completed in late 2017.  The project is the largest of its kind in Israel, and will contribute significantly to the government’s clean power goals when complete.  The Ashalim plant is being constructed by Megalim Solar Power, a Build, Operate, Transfer (B.O.T.) company owned by NOY Fund, BrightSource and General Electric (GE). GE is responsible for the engineering, the procurement and the construction (EPC) of the solar power station. The facility is located on Plot-B of the Ashalim solar complex, which includes two solar thermal projects and one photovoltaic project. In total, these facilities at Ashalim are expected to produce nearly 300 MW of power, about two percent of Israel’s electricity production capacity, supporting Israel’s commitment to reach 10% of the country’s electricity production from renewable sources by 2020.

 

Congress Urges Approps Limits – Rep. Garret Graves and Charles Boustany, Jr., along with led with 26 other members sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee leaders requesting that language be included in the Interior, Environment and Related Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 prohibiting the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) from using any funds for the implementation of the agency’s proposed well control rule.  The rule has come under criticism from stakeholders who say the rule imposes an impossible mandate on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, requiring technology that has not been developed and will not have a demonstrable benefit to safety. These stakeholders argue the rule could amount to a de facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf until new technology to meet the rule’s requirements is developed over the coming years. Experts at Wood Mackenzie concluded that if this rule went into effect, as many as 190,000 direct jobs would be lost due to a decrease in exploration and production. The well control rule is currently under review at the Office of Information and Regulatory affairs within the Office of Management and Budget.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Transmission Summit Set to Address Challenges – The 19th Annual Transmission Summit will be held on March 29-31 at the Washington Marriott Georgetown.  The event will feature senior executives from MISO, NYISO, PJM, SPP and ISO-NE, who will discuss their system needs and market changes, and representatives from such prominent transmission owners and developers as Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, Con Edison, DATC, Exelon Corp., LS Power Development LLC, National Grid, Xcel Energy and others will provide insights into their development plans and projects.

 

Forum to Look at Health Consequence of Nuclear Terror Scenario – The CSIS Global Health Policy Center will host Timothy Jorgensen, Associate Professor and Director, Health Physics and Radiation Protection Program, Georgetown University, today at 4:00 p.m. to speak on the topic of “Predicting the Health Consequences of Nuclear Terrorism Scenarios,” drawing on the experiences of Hiroshima and Fukushima.  Tim’s talk occurs soon after Princeton University Press publishes his new book, “Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation.”

GP Bush Headlines TX Energy Conference – Bush Others Lead Texas Energy Conference – George P. Bush Texas Land Commissioner will lead efforts speaking tomorrow in Austin, Texas at the historic Paramount Theatre. ETS16 will debate the state and future of energy and a fascinating cross-section of established leaders and unsung heroes rewriting the next generation of energy.  As Texas Land Commissioner, Bush works to ensure Texas veterans get the benefits they’ve earned, oversees investments that earn billions of dollars for public education and manages state lands to produce the oil and gas that is helping make America energy independent.  Other speakers will include Google’s Vint Cerf, NRG’s Leah Seligman, NASA’s Tom Wagner, ERCOT’s Bill Magness, Luis Reyes of the Kit Carson Electric Coop and John Hewa of the Pedernales Electric Coop.

Forum to Preview Nuke Summit – In advance of the final Nuclear Security Summit, the CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program hold a forum to bring together leaders from three Centers of Excellence to share how their centers have helped build nuclear security in East Asia as well as discuss what the future may hold for them in the post-summit environment.  Dr. Jongsook Kim, Director General of the Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control International Nuclear Nonproliferation and Security Academy and Mr. Yosuke Naoi, Deputy Director of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Safety will brief on the current status of their centers.  They will be joined by Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Chair of IAEA NSSC Network and Threat Reduction Programs at the State Department and Mr. David G. Huizenga, Principal Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration for a panel discussion on nuclear security efforts after the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, moderated by Ms. Sharon Squassoni, Director and Senior Fellow of the CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program.

Forum to Look at Africa Food Crisis – The CSIS Africa Program and the CSIS Global Food Security Project will hold a discussion on Tuesday March 29th at 2:00 p.m. on examining Africa’s latest food crisis.  The 2015-2016 El Niño weather pattern, among the strongest on record, has caused intense drought in Eastern and Southern Africa and has left up to 60 million people in the two regions in need of emergency food assistance. Ethiopia has called the current drought its worst in 30 years, South Africa its worst in over a century. As the resulting food and health emergency grows, experts on food security, resilience, and climate change in Africa will join us to discuss the scale and impact of the current crisis and evaluate the response to date, with an eye toward what the U.S. and broader international community can do to support resilience to mounting climate variability challenges.

Forum to Look at Solar Designs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in 121 Cannon about a “solar secure” recreation center in Brooklyn and a “high performance” school in Kentucky that are benefiting their communities as well as those who use the buildings. The briefing will show how sustainable public buildings can collectively reduce emissions and clear the air, especially in disadvantaged communities where energy utilities are often sited. Case studies will feature buildings–both in urban and in rural areas–that are improving public health and driving economic growth, while protecting and serving their communities and neighborhoods even during emergencies.  It will feature a retrofit project in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City and a net-zero energy high school in rural Kentucky, as well as projects incorporating sustainability principles in Prince George’s County, Maryland. For vocational students near Lexington, Kentucky, the Locust Trace AgriScience Center embodies the principles of sustainability. With daylit classrooms and low-impact land development, the buildings and campus provide hands-on learning of new skills for today’s jobs with minimal energy/water use and low carbon emissions. The Redevelopment Authority (RDA) of Prince George’s County, MD, is developing mixed-income/mixed-use projects and affordable housing in urban communities near transit centers using sustainability principles that promote walkability, green design, and energy and water efficiency.

 

CAP hosts Transpo Sect Foxx – The Center for American Progress will host U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. as he outlines the history of transportation decision-making and its role in shaping society. He will lay out core principles for future inclusive design that will help ensure that transportation projects will work to connect –and reconnect — communities to opportunities and the American Dream. Throughout our nation’s history, transportation has connected the country, but transportation infrastructure decisions have also worked to divide us.

PHMSA Head to Address CSIS Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) on Wednesday March 30th at 11:00 a.m.  As administrator, Dominguez is responsible for overseeing PHMSA’s development and enforcement of regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million miles of gas and liquid pipelines and nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Dominguez will provide an overview of PHMSA as well as her thoughts on the country’s main challenges and opportunities with regard to the transportation of energy and hazardous materials that are essential to daily life.

 

WCEE to Look at Solar Growth – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a brown bad lunch at Duane Morris on Wednesday, March 30th looking at the challenges and growth in solar.  The burgeoning solar industry presents a number of opportunities and challenges. The recent extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides a strong boost for the solar industry. At the same time, grid reliability and interconnection are of utmost important as increased solar capacity is added to the grid.  Anya Schoolman discusses solar programs and incentives, use of tax credits, and explores solar co-ops as a means to undertake solar PV projects. Kevin Lynn will then delve deeper into the issues of solar PV and grid integration through the lenses of technical, market, and regulatory challenges. Lastly, Erik Heinle will speak from his experience of working with various project owners, developers, and investors on issues surrounding facility construction and financing, power purchase agreements/net metering and interconnection issues as well as issues related to PURPA.

 

Forum to Look at Solar Book – The GW Sustainability Collaborative and the GW Solar Institute will host an event Wednesday at Noon with author Philip Warburg to discuss his new book Harness the Sun: America’s Quest for a Solar-Powered Future.  Solar power was once the domain of futurists and environmentally minded suburbanites. Today it is part of mainstream America. Scan the skyline of downtown neighborhoods, check out the rooftop of the nearest Walmart, and take a close look at your local sports arena. In Harness the Sun, Warburg takes readers on a far-flung journey that explores America’s solar revolution. Beginning with his solar-powered home in New England, he introduces readers to the pioneers who are spearheading our move toward a clean energy economy. We meet the CEOs who are propelling solar power to prominence and the intrepid construction workers who scale our rooftops installing panels. We encounter the engineers who are building giant utility-scale projects in prime solar states like Nevada, Arizona, and California, and the biologists who make sure wildlife is protected at those sites.

 

McGinn Featured at Roundtable – The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) will hold a new Defense & National Security Roundtable on Wednesday, March 30th at 4:00 p.m. featuring Dennis McGinn.  The event is part of a bi-monthly roundtable series featuring special guests from across sectors discussing critical climate change and national security initiatives in a town hall format.  McGinn, currently Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment), was the former director of ACORE.

 

Energy to Host QER Meetings Around Country – The Department of Energy has announced a series of public meetings around the country to seek input on the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER 1.2), which is a study the of the nation’s electricity system from generation to end-use. The stated purpose of the QER 1.2 is to develop a set of findings and policy recommendations to help guide the modernization of the nation’s electric grid and ensure its reliability, safety, security, affordability and environmental performance through 2040.  Meetings will include remarks from government officials, moderated panel discussions with public and private sector energy experts, and open microphone/public comment sessions. Meeting dates and locations will include Atlanta, GA (3/31), Boston, MA (4/15), Salt Lake City, UT (4/25), Des Moines, IA (5/6), Los Angeles, CA (5/10) and Austin, TX.

 

DOE Official to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Dr. Paula Gant, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Energy for its monthly lunch Thursday at the University Club.  Previously, Gant served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas in the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.  As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Gant administered domestic and international oil and gas programs, including policy analysis and liquefied natural gas import and export authorization.

 

Forum to Look at European Pipeline Project, Security – The Atlantic Council will host forum on Friday at 9:30 a.m. looking at the pipeline project Nord Stream 2 and whether it is a threat to Energy Security in Europe.  Amidst the Ukraine Crisis and continuing tensions between Russia and the European Union, the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline presents a strategic dilemma to the European Union. The project would increase shipments of gas directly to Gazprom’s core Western European markets by circumventing Ukraine deemed too risky a transit state by some member states. At the same time, it deeply divides member states and poses dilemmas in the context of the EU’s diversification and LNG strategies.

 

Vandy, ELI Host Annual Law Review – On Friday at 9:30 a.m. on 2168 Rayburn (The Gold Room), Vanderbilt University Law School and the Environmental Law Institute will hold their annual event to identify innovative environmental law and policy proposals in the academic literature. Please join leading professors, policymakers and practitioners to discuss the proposals selected this year.

 

Statoil Exec to Address Energy Issues, Climate – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a roundtable on Friday with Irene Rummelhoff, Executive Vice President for New Energy Solutions at Statoil to discuss what role energy companies may play in the transition to a global low carbon economy.  As the policies and economics evolve to address climate change, many energy companies are adjusting their long-term vision to ensure an active role in this transition to low carbon energy future. Statoil’s New Energy Solutions has a long term goal of reducing carbon emissions and exploring new low-carbon business opportunities, especially in ways that complement traditional oil and gas assets with profitable renewable energy and other low carbon energy solutions.

 

Skulnik to Speak on MD Solar Law – On Sunday, April 3rd at 2:15 p.m. in the Silver Spring, our friend Gary Skulnik will discuss the new Maryland community solar law.  Skulnik is the founder of a new social enterprise called Neighborhood Sun, www.neighborhoodsun.solar. As President of Clean Currents, Gary started the movement for clean power in Maryland and the region.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Discuss Ukraine Energy Security – Next Monday at 4:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Ukraine energy with its resident fellow Anders Åslund and Ukrainian Parliament Energy committee Member Olga Bielkova.  In his report on the strategic challenges facing Ukraine’s energy sector Dr. Åslund argues that energy sector reform is essential to the survival of Ukraine, as it will assist Ukraine’s fight against corruption, minimize its dependence on Russian gas, and improve Ukrainian national security. The simultaneous support of and pressure from the transatlantic community is critical for Ukraine to complete the reform process in due course to smooth the social costs of the transition, stabilize its energy market, create a favorable environment for indigenous energy production, and improve the country’s overall economic growth prospects. The panel of experts will discuss the findings and recommendations of Dr. Åslund’s report.

 

Energy Conference Set – The Energy Smart Conference will be held at the Gaylord on April 4-6th.  The event features top enterprises, energy service providers, and technology leaders to rethink the industry and refine energy management.  Main speakers will be Colin Powell, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us Daniel Pink and Green to Gold Author Andrew Winston.

 

CSIS to Discuss China Energy Outlook – Next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and Freeman Chair in China Studies will host Xiaojie Xu, Chief Fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, to present the World Energy China Outlook 2016. The annual outlook presents a Chinese perspective on world energy trends with a focus on domestic energy development and global implications. The 2016 edition compares the implications of a Current Policies Scenario (CPS), examining recently released government policies, as well as an Eco-friendly Energy Strategy (EES), an alternative set of policies emphasizing a new pattern of economic development with increasing quality of growth, an optimized energy system, higher efficiency and lower-carbon development. Jane Nakano, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

RFF to Launch Revesz/Lienke Book – Resources for the Future will hold a book launch on April 5th for the book, Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal” by Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke.   Pro EPA advocates Revesz and Lienke argue that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and the Clean Power Plan are the latest in a long line of efforts by presidential administrations of both parties to compensate for a tragic flaw in the Clean Air Act of 1970—the “grandfathering” that spared existing power plants from complying with the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions limits applicable to new plants. At this discussion, Revesz and Lienke will clarify their arguments and a panel of experts will weigh in on the inherent challenges of Clean Air Act regulations and the future of environmental policies such as the Clean Power Plan.  A panel of experts will discuss the issues.

 

Forum to Look at Transition in Coal Country – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosts a webinar next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. that will explore how traditionally coal-reliant communities can transition, diversify and strengthen their economies as the United States moves toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. The event will discuss the funding opportunities and work being done at the local, regional and federal levels to help these communities grow vibrant local economies. This webinar will highlight the range of actions being taken by various coal-reliant regions to diversify and develop new jobs and sources of revenue.

FERC’s Honorable to Headline Energy Times Forum – The Energy Times will hold a conference on California Renewables at the Fairmont San Francisco on April 6th.  Keynoters will in broad strokes paint a picture of what is happening in the world of electric utilities, energy infrastructure and the power grid today. They will suggest what will be needed in the future and they will begin our consideration of what it will take for us to get there.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable and Edison International’s Andrew Murphy, among many others.

 

Forum to Look at Arctic Energy Issues – The Institute of the North and The Wilson Center, in association with the Arctic Parliamentarians, Arctic Economic Council and Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee, will host a forum to consider ways in which northern governments and businesses can advance broadly beneficial and responsible economic development.  The day-long forum will address the potential for Arctic economic development, the barriers, and the paths toward greater economic prosperity. This Forum is dedicated to improving the business environment in the American Arctic, which clearly intersects with the economies of other Arctic nations, other regions of the United States, and multiple sectors of the economy. Panel discussions and presentations will focus on areas of mutual interest and concern, including trade, infrastructure, investment, risk mitigation, and improving the living and economic conditions of people of the north.  Confirmed speakers include Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Angus King, as well as Arctic Economic Council Chair Tara Sweeney, Icelandic Arctic Chamber of Commerce rep Haukur Óskarsson, Julie Gourley of the US State Department, Canada’s Susan Harper, Norway Parliament Member Eirik Sivertsen, Denmark Parliament Member Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Russian Sen. Vladimir Torlopov and several other business officials.

 

Pickens, Allen to Discuss NatGas Future – The Hudson Institute hosts a forum on Wednesday April 6th to look at the future natgas economy.  America’s abundance of shale natural gas represents a historic opportunity for the United States to achieve a burst of clean economic growth—and gives American energy security and independence a new meaning.  Will natural gas serve as an essential bridge in the coming era of clean renewable energy sources? Four panels of experts will discuss how the transition to natural gas as a leading power source and industrial feedstock will impact key sectors of the American economy.  George Allen, former governor and U.S. senator from Virginia, will keynote the conference. Energy entrepreneur, financier, and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens will take part in a lunchtime dialogue on America’s natural gas future with Hudson Senior Fellow Arthur Herman.  Other speakers will include our friends David Montgomery of NERA, Michael Jackson of Fuel Freedom Foundation and ACC’s Owen Kean among others.

Senate Agriculture to Look at USDA Rural Development Programs – Next Wednesday, April 6th at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy will hold a hearing on USDA Rural Development Programs and their economic impact across America.  USDA’s Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary of Rural Development will testify along with Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill, our friend Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw and Cris Sommerville, President of Dakota Turbines in North Dakota.

 

Senate Enviro Hosts NRC Commissioners on Budget – The Senate Environment Committee will hold an oversight hearing next Wednesday April 6th on the President’s FY 2017 Budget Request for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. All NRC Commissioners will testify.

 

RFF to Look at Deforestation – Resources for the Future will hold its First Wednesday Seminar on April 6th at 12:45 p.m. that focused on the opportunities for and challenges of reducing supply chain deforestation using private and regulatory strategies, potential synergies among these strategies, and linkages with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).  The event will feature leading companies, nongovernmental organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives using and promoting these approaches.

WCEE Lunch to Look at EE in Commercial Buildings – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch on Wednesday April 6th at Noon  on new environmental policies, efficiency programs, climate change mitigation, and building codes.  These items have been crucial to the design of sustainable infrastructure and development of energy efficient products, services and practices for commercial buildings and industrial plants. The market offers a wide assortment of programs, services and products but…which are the most suitable for commercial buildings or industrial plants?  Panelists share their experience on energy efficiency programs implemented in different facilities. Smita Chandra Thomas will discuss how energy efficiency in commercial buildings can contribute to climate change mitigation and the eco-system that makes it possible.  Julie Hughes from IMT will present on building energy performance policies–discussing how local, state, and federal government are crucial for making the built environmental more energy efficient.  Alana Hutchinson will give an overview of ENERGY STAR best practices for establishing a comprehensive energy management program for buildings and plants. Corrine Figueredo will explain EDGE, an innovative tool developed by the IFC to help build a business case for Green buildings in more than a 100 countries.

 

EPA Sets Biomass Workshop – States and stakeholders have shown strong interest in the role biomass can play in state strategies to address carbon pollution. Many states have extensive expertise in the area of sound carbon- and GHG-beneficial forestry and land management practices, and exhibit approaches to biomass and bioenergy that are unique to each state’s economic, environmental and renewable energy goals.  To support efforts to further evaluate the role of biomass in stationary source carbon strategies, EPA is hosting this public workshop on Thursday April 7th to share their successes, experiences and approaches to deploying biomass in ways that have been, and can be, carbon beneficial.

 

HuffPost Podcast to Be Featured – Our friend Dana Yeganian, former Progress Energy PR person, is hosting a Happy Hour on Thursday, April 7th at NBCUniversal’s office at 300 NJ Ave featuring the new HuffPost podcast Candidate Confessional.  CC Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Chekis will provide an inside look at life on the losing side of the campaign trial.

 

Rogers Headlines Clean Energy Challenge Forum – The Clean Energy Challenge is hold a conference in Chicago on April 12th featuring capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives to recognize cleantech innovation.  The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 60+ businesses throughout the Midwest.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Ripple Foods CEO Adam Lowry.

 

USAEE Washington Energy Conference Set for Georgetown – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) and the Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club will host its 20th Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference on Wednesday, April 13th at Georgetown University.   The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Bill Hogan, of Harvard University and our friends Monica Trauzzi of E&E TV, former NYT reporter Matt Wald of NEI and GDF Suez exec Rob Minter.

 

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at the Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the uncertainties of shale resource development under low price environment.

 

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

 

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

 

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

Energy Update: Week of March 21

Friends,

What a great hoops weekend for both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA tourney.  Kansas, UNC and UVa look strong and I love the surprises, like Middle Tennessee St knocking off Michigan State and Stephen F Austin and Northern Iowa, who both let Notre Dame and Texas A&M off the hook.  Not really a surprise that Gonzaga and Syracuse (even though they are high seeds) are in the Sweet 16 as they have been there before. On the Women’s side, traditional powerhouses UConn, South Carolina, Baylor, Notre Dame and Maryland have rolled so far with UConn and Baylor both expected to jump into the Sweet 16 tonight.

And the Frozen Four Hockey Bracket is out.  The top seed is polling experts Quinnipiac, while other tops seed went to St. Cloud St (MN), North Dakota and Providence.  Other perennial powerhouses including Big 10 champ Michigan, Ivy champ Harvard, BU, BC, MN-Duluth, Denver, Notre Dame, UMass-Lowell, Yale and Ferris St. all made the grade.  Frozen Four Finals set for April 7-9 in Tampa.  Congrats to the Minnesota women’s hockey team who this weekend defeated previously unbeaten Boston College to win back-to-back NCAA titles.

Spring Break and Easter week means a quick break in DC.  But not for the PRG Team at Bracewell.  We and our colleagues are taking the week to move to brand-new offices at 2001 M Street.  Yes, we are leaving our K street office of over 25 years for new construction.  While I wish we were moving closing to Annapolis, the new offices will be a nice change.  We are there starting next Monday.

As for this week, with all the crazy political issues swirling in the Presidential race, the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy will host a special public panel discussion on Thursday to explore the politics of clean energy and climate action in this presidential-election year.

Other great events include tonight’s (6pm) University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute forum on the Clean Power Plan and look at its potential impacts on U.S. energy policy, markets and the environment.  Tomorrow, the Hudson Institute examines how U.S. oil and natural gas exports have reshaped the balance of global energy power, featuring Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS).  And also tomorrow, the Bipartisan Policy Center will host experts on how states and municipalities are tackling permitting delays and if it is enough to facilitate the investments in infrastructure crucial to keeping the American economy competitive and growing.

The Senate is out, but the House is here until Wednesday.  Following last week’s Gina McCarthy-MI Gov Rick Snyder Show on Flint water in House Gov’t Oversight, McCarthy returns to the House tomorrow for Appropriations Committee in the morning and House Energy panels in the afternoon to discuss the EPA Budget.   Tomorrow House Science has Secretary Moniz for the DOE Budget and Wednesday it hits Ozone standards, while House Resources has OSM’s Joe Pizarchik.

Finally, today is the 10th anniversary of Twitter.  Who ever thought 140 characters would be so valuable but still not be making any money: #awesome!!!  Please enjoy your family and friends over the Easter Holiday.  See you from our new offices next week!  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Cal PUC Approves Ivanpah Extension – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an agreement between the Ivanpah plant investors NRG Energy Inc., Google and BrightSource Energy Inc. and utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) to allow project operators at least six months, and possibly a year more, to meet current production targets of 448,000 MWh annually.  Ivanpah’s performance has improved dramatically in 2015 during the four-year expected ramp up, and the forecast for 2016 shows it will be operating a near-full power.

CleanTechnica Tackles Details of CPUC, Ivanpah – CleanTechnica technology reporter Susan Kraemer dug into the details to provide the most detail analysis of the current situation at Ivanpah and why the forbearance agreement with CPUC and PG&E was necessary.   You can see it here.

Pipeline Regs Designate Moderate, High Population Areas – Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said natural gas pipelines running through moderately densely populated areas and those built before 1970 would be newly regulated.  The agency does not address whether or not to require installation of automatic shutoff valves as some advocates called for after the 2010 San Bruno pipeline accident.  My colleague Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) knows the PHMSA issues inside and out if you need a backgrounder.

Interior to Impose New Air Regs – Following its five-year drilling Plan, Interior also announced a new proposal to enact new federal offshore air quality monitoring regulations on oil and gas development and service vehicles supplying rigs.  IPAA’s Dan Naatz said it’s clear this administration continues to mount an aggressive climate agenda against America’s oil and natural gas producers. “Earlier this week, the White House reduced the areas where the offshore industry can explore for America’s abundant and low-cost energy resources. Today, it proposes a highly complicated 349-page regulatory scheme that toughens measuring, tracking, and reporting of air quality emissions, which will no doubt add yet another layer of burdensome and costly requirements on an already-suffering industry and could affect American energy development.  Continuing to impose these challenging regulations, at a time when the industry is hurting under constrained market conditions, makes producers’ jobs of exploring and developing America’s plentiful oil and natural gas resources prohibitively expensive. Not only is this administration making it harder for American operators to stay in business, it is robbing the American taxpayers of billions of dollars in additional revenue that would be generated from this production.”  My colleague Rich Alonso (202-828-5861), former EPA enforcement official, has worked on similar topics and can be a great resource.

TPPF Video Shows GHG Rule Impact on Navajo Nation – A new video from the Texas Public Policy Foundation shows the negative effects of the Clean Power Plan on the Navajo Nation, Arizona and the Southwest where EPA’s regulation threatens to shut down two large power plants and coal mines—operations that provide much of the revenue for the Navajo Nation as well as good-paying jobs. Told through the eyes of the Navajo people as well as Arizona elected officials, this film offers a real practical experience to what this already disadvantaged and poor communities will face.

NASDAQ, Clean Edge Forum Changes Companies –  Clean Edge announced the results of the semi-annual evaluation of the NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Green Energy Index (NASDAQ: CELS) and the NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Smart Grid Infrastructure Index (NASDAQ: QGRD), both of which became effective prior to today’s market open. NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index (CELS):  The following five securities have been added to the CELS Index: Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI); 8point3 Energy Partners, LP (CAFD); FuelCell Energy, Inc. (FCEL); TerraForm Global, Inc. (GLBL); and Sunrun, Inc. (RUN).  The NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index is designed to track the performance of clean-energy companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. The Index includes companies engaged in the manufacturing, development, distribution, and installation of emerging clean-energy technologies such as solar photovoltaics, advanced batteries, hybrid and electric vehicles, and renewable materials. The five major sub-sectors that the index covers are Renewable Electricity Generation; Renewable Fuels; Energy Storage & Conversion; Energy Intelligence; and Advanced Energy-Related Materials. The securities must also meet other eligibility criteria which include minimum requirements for market value, average daily share volume, and price. The NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Green Energy Index is re-ranked semi-annually in March and September.

Platts Looks at Cuba, Oil Issues – President Barack Obama makes his trip to Cuba this week and Platts Capitol Crude asks: could a cargo of WTI crude from Corpus Christi soon follow him to Havana?  On this week’s podcast, Platts senior editors Brian Scheid and Herman Wang look at what a potential end to the long-standing trade embargo means for US crude oil and petroleum products exports. Jorge Pinon, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program, says the future of US oil in Cuba may hinge on the situation in Venezuela as much as it does on US trade policy.

Prez Not Going to NYC for Climate Signing – Speaking of President Obama, our friend in the trade press are reporting that he will not travel to New York City for the April climate pact signing where world leaders and other top international officials will sign the document.  Some had suspected that Obama would attend be he will be in Europe and the Middle East during that time so Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to go to the United Nations ceremony to sign instead.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum Looks at PR Energy Concerns – The American Security Project  will host a discussion today on energy, economy, and security in Puerto Rico and how understanding the ongoing debt crisis through these lenses will strengthen our response.  Puerto Rico, America’s largest Caribbean territory, has long been an important U.S. geopolitical outpost and now finds itself on the verge of catastrophe under the weight of massive debt and a costly, inefficient energy supply. The impacts have triggered a large-scale resettlement to the U.S. mainland where gridlock has turned the Island’s future into a political hot potato rather than an issue of long-term strategic importance for U.S. national security.  As Congress recommits itself to a resolution, understanding the issues plaguing Puerto Rico through the lens of energy security and risk management offers opportunities to reverse the current trends, gain political support and address the future of 3.3 million U.S. citizens on the island.

Forum to Look at Sustainable Housing – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is holding a briefing today at 2:30 p.m. in 122 Cannon regarding energy efficient, “green” affordable housing and how it is improving health and safety in distressed communities while providing economic and environmental benefits to states. This is the second in a series of EESI briefings examining environmental justice as it relates to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This briefing will show how sustainable affordable housing can save money for low-income families and strengthen community resilience while serving as a CPP compliance strategy.  Speakers will showcase sustainable affordable housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as a retrofit in Washington, DC, and will discuss the national movement to “green” affordable housing. The briefing will also feature the passive building retrofit of Weinberg Commons, a multifamily housing complex for low-income families in Southeast DC. The nation’s capital uses Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Criteria as the baseline green building standard for its public and publicly-financed projects.

USEA to Look at Fossil Fuels – The US Energy Assn will host a forum today at 3:00 p.m. on addressing fossil fuels. Scientists believe significant climate change is unavoidable without a drastic reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels. However, few countries have implemented comprehensive policies that price this externality or devote serious resources to developing low-carbon energy sources. In many respects, the world is betting that we will greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels because we will run out of inexpensive fossil fuels (there will be decreases in supply) and/or technological advances will lead to the discovery of less-expensive low-carbon technologies (there will be decreases in demand). The historical record indicates that the supply of fossil fuels has consistently increased over time and that their relative price advantage over low-carbon energy sources has not declined substantially over time. Without robust efforts to correct the market failures around greenhouse gases, relying on supply and/or demand forces to limit greenhouse gas emissions is relying heavily on hope.  Thomas Covert, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago will speak.

EPIC Forum Looks at GHG Plan – This evening at 6:00 p.m., our friends at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago will host a forum on the Clean Power Plan and look at its potential impacts on U.S. energy policy, markets and the environment.  The panel discussion will highlight key provisions of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the controversy surrounding this rule, including the recent stay ordered by the Supreme Court of the United States; Cap-and-Trade, Carbon Taxation, and the CPP — their differences, pros and cons, and the best solution for reducing carbon emissions; the potential impact of the CPP on traditional energy markets and energy prices (if upheld); the clean energy market and how the CPP could potentially catapult its growth (if upheld); and the impact of the judicial stay on COP21 commitments and global diplomatic relations, environmental law regulations, and future U.S. energy policies.  Speakers include EEI’s Ed Comer, EPIC’s Thomas Covert, former DOJ official Thomas Lorenzen, Constellation Energy Richard Wilson and several others.

Hudson Conference Looking at Shale Revolution – The Hudson Institute will host a conference tomorrow examining how U.S. oil and natural gas exports have reshaped the balance of global energy power. Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, will discuss the geopolitics of energy and the outlook on Capitol Hill for expanding American global energy leadership through hydraulic fracturing. Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Mark P. Mills will keynote the conference, and four distinguished panels of experts will address the impact of the American shale revolution in different world regions.

BPC to Host Permitting Forum – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to hear from experts on how states and municipalities are tackling the problem and if it is enough to facilitate the investments in infrastructure crucial to keeping the American economy competitive and growing.  America faces a growing infrastructure funding gap. One way to help meet that need is to encourage private capital to come in from the sidelines. Yet delays in the federal environmental review and permitting process—which can increase costs and uncertainty—are a barrier to private investment and the speedy delivery of needed projects. Recognizing this challenge, members of Congress and the Obama Administration have recently advanced various efforts designed to modernize, streamline and accelerate the review and permitting process. Speakers include Susan Binder of Cambridge Systematics, Christopher Hodgkins of the Miami Access Tunnel and NRDC’s Deron Lovaas.

McCarthy Heads to House Approps – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will conduct a budget hearing on the EPA budget, with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and CFO David Bloom testifying.

House Science Holds Hearing on DOE Budget Request – The full House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow for an overview of the DOE Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2017.  DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz will testify.

Forum to Look at U.S.-Japanese Nuclear Cooperation, Plutonium – Tomorrow at Noon at the US Capitol Visitors Center 215, NPEC will hold a forum that will focus on one nuclear security issue that, while important, is sure to go unmentioned at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit on March 31 – April 1: What are the diplomatic and regional security implications of Japan opening a reprocessing plant capable of producing more than 1,000 bombs’ worth of plutonium per year at Rokkasho on the very eve of the US-Japan civilian nuclear cooperative agreement’s renewal?  Most government officials assume that this agreement will be renewed automatically. More than a few outside experts and former senior officials, however, have voiced concerns that the opening of Rokkasho could spark a fissile materials competition with China and South Korea.  To clarify what’s at stake and what alternative courses of action might be taken, NPEC has assembled a panel of Japanese and American experts. These include Fumihiko Yoshida, formerly the Deputy Director of The Asahi Shimbun, now resident at the Carnegie Endowment; Masakatsu Ota of Kyodo News; and William Tobey former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration. In addition, Congressman Brad Sherman, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, will share his views.  Congressman Brad Sherman will make remarks.

Forum to Look at Iran, Nuclear – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow morning focused on the Iran Nuclear summit and nuclear Production. The Nuclear Security Summit has made little progress on preventing the production of fissile material that has no plausible use. One way forward would be to establish a norm that such production should be consistent with reasonable civilian needs.  The Nuclear Security Summit process has broken considerable ground on enhancing the security of vulnerable nuclear material. But it has made much less progress on preventing the production of fissile material that has no plausible use. One way forward, which would also complement nonproliferation efforts, would be to establish a norm that such production should be consistent with reasonable civilian needs.  Carnegie’s James M. Acton, Ariel Levite, and Togzhan Kassenova will explore the potential value of this norm and discuss whether progress is possible. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, will moderate.

Forum to Look at Sustainable India – The South Asia Policy Research Initiative in collaboration with Georgetown U India Initiative, Science, Technology and International Affairs Major (STIA) and McCourt Energy and Environment Policy will host a panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on the balance between environmental protection and Economic Growth. The panel includes Muhammad Khan (Former Aide to Minister of Environment and Forests, India), and Professor Uwe Brandes (Founding Executive Director, Urban and Regional Planning, Georgetown University), and Professor Mark Giordano (Director, Science, Technology and International Affairs Major (STIA)), as we explore sustainable development in India that also protects the environment.  Muhammad Khan will discuss his experience and hear the views of Prof. Uwe Brandes and Mark Giordano who have great expertise in sustainable development and environment.

Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit tomorrow at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

House Energy Panels Host McCarthy on EPA FY’17 Budget – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will also host EPA’s McCarthy to look at the FY2017 EPA Budget.

BGov Webinar Looks at Budget – Bloomberg Government holds a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the current state of budget planning in the House.  Speakers will include Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies Deputy Director and Heritage Foundation research fellow Romina Boccia joining BGOV’s legislative analyst Loren Duggan and BGOV’s senior budget analyst Cameron Leuthy.

Forum to Look at Shareholder Action – Tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Ceres and the Council of Institutional Investors will host a forum on shareholder resolutions with energy companies. Investors in Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) have filed resolutions at key U.S. companies calling for companies to analyze the impacts of a 2 degree scenario on their portfolio of oil and gas reserves and resources and assess the resilience of the companies’ business strategies through 2040. The event features a panel discussion among resolution filers, analysts looking at 2 degree scenarios and the 50/50 Climate Project (focused on achieving “climate competent” corporate boards).  Speakers will include James Andrus of CalPERS, Helen Vine-Fiestas of BNP Paribas and Rich Ferlauto of the 50/50 Climate Project.

EEI to Host Leaders in Energy – The Edison Electric Institute hosts a panel of experts tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. who will discuss and explore interesting questions related to the evolving Smart Grid and Advanced Metering Insfrastructure (AMI) deployments that utilize unlicensed spectrum and its impact on energy efficiency.  Thought leaders from the utility, federal Smart Grid program, and telecommunications sectors will be at Leaders in Energy educational and professional networking event to explore issues related to the use of the unlicensed spectrum, advanced metering infrastructure communication platforms, and related Smart Meter applications in Smart Grid deployments to improve energy performance, benefit the environment, and services for utilities and customers.

House Oversight to Look at Leasing Program – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine the Bureau of Land Management’s Public Lands Leasing Program.

OSM Director Heads to House Resources –The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will conduct a hearing on Wednesday looking at entitled impacts of the FY 2017 Budget and Legislative Proposals for the Office of Surface Mining on private sector job creation, domestic energy production, state programs and deficit reduction. The witness will be Joe Pizarchik, Director of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement.

House Science Looks at Ozone Regs – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on Wednesday examining EPA’s Regional Haze Program and its possible benefits.  Witnesses will include CEI’s William Yeatman, Tom Schroedter of the Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers, Environmental Policy Consultant Bruce Polkowsky and Aaron Flynn of Hunton & Williams LLP.

Wilson Forum Looks at Climate Adaption Issues – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center and USAID will hold an event that will feature a high-level discussion to explore what the Paris Agreement means for adaptation efforts globally. Speakers will identify specific activities being undertaken to support those efforts, with particular attention to National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and the NAP Global Network.  As the dust settles following COP21, we are rapidly sorting out what the Paris Agreement means in practice and what role the climate, development, and diplomacy communities should play in implementing it. The event is the first in a series of dialogues on post-Paris climate adaptation, mitigation, and financing.

Forum to Look at Energy Politics – The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy will host a special public panel discussion on Thursday to explore the politics of clean energy and climate action in this presidential election year. Specifically, can Republicans, Democrats and Independents find common ground on the role of the federal government on these issues? If so, what are the most promising areas for bipartisan agreement?  The bipartisan panel will feature former Rep. and Carbon tax advocate Bob Inglis, former CO Gov. Bill Ritter, Theodore Roosevelt IV of Barclays Capital Corporation and former White House Climate official Heather Zichal.

Cato Event Looks at Minerals, Mining – On Thursday at Noon in B-354 Rayburn, Cato will host a forum on the future of US mineral resources. Domestic minerals and metals are a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, but data just published by the Energy Information Agency (EIA) show that investment in U.S. mining and exploration declined an incredible 35 percent last year—from $135 billion in 2014 to $88 billion in 2015—representing the second largest decline since 1948. The withdrawal of federal lands, often with permanent restrictions on mining force manufacturers to look elsewhere, and the permitting process is long and drawn out.  Federal holdings used to be called the “land of many uses,” but increasingly Washington has decided that one of those uses is no longer the mining of coal and minerals. Millions of acres, largely in the West, are now zoned for no mining, no matter how remote or rich they might be. The event will feature Ned Mamula, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute; and Patrick J. Michaels, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute; moderated by Peter Russo, Director of Congressional Affairs, Cato Institute.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Transmission Summit Set to Address Challenges – The 19th Annual Transmission Summit will be held on March 29-31 at the Washington Marriott Georgetown.  The event will feature senior executives from MISO, NYISO, PJM, SPP and ISO-NE, who will discuss their system needs and market changes, and representatives from such prominent transmission owners and developers as Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, Con Edison, DATC, Exelon Corp., LS Power Development LLC, National Grid, Xcel Energy and others will provide insights into their development plans and projects.

Forum to Look at Africa Food Crisis – The CSIS Africa Program and the CSIS Global Food Security Project will hold a discussion on Tuesday March 29th at 2:00 p.m. on examining Africa’s latest food crisis.  The 2015-2016 El Niño weather pattern, among the strongest on record, has caused intense drought in Eastern and Southern Africa and has left up to 60 million people in the two regions in need of emergency food assistance. Ethiopia has called the current drought its worst in 30 years, South Africa its worst in over a century. As the resulting food and health emergency grows, experts on food security, resilience, and climate change in Africa will join us to discuss the scale and impact of the current crisis and evaluate the response to date, with an eye toward what the U.S. and broader international community can do to support resilience to mounting climate variability challenges.

PHMSA Head to Address CSIS Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) on Wednesday March 30th at 11:00 a.m.  As administrator, Dominguez is responsible for overseeing PHMSA’s development and enforcement of regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million miles of gas and liquid pipelines and nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Dominguez will provide an overview of PHMSA as well as her thoughts on the country’s main challenges and opportunities with regard to the transportation of energy and hazardous materials that are essential to daily life.

WCEE to Look at Solar Growth – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a brown bad lunch at Duane Morris on Wednesday, March 30th looking at the challenges and growth in solar.  The burgeoning solar industry presents a number of opportunities and challenges. The recent extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides a strong boost for the solar industry. At the same time, grid reliability and interconnection are of utmost important as increased solar capacity is added to the grid.  Anya Schoolman discusses solar programs and incentives, use of tax credits, and explores solar co-ops as a means to undertake solar PV projects. Kevin Lynn will then delve deeper into the issues of solar PV and grid integration through the lenses of technical, market, and regulatory challenges. Lastly, Erik Heinle will speak from his experience of working with various project owners, developers, and investors on issues surrounding facility construction and financing, power purchase agreements/net metering and interconnection issues as well as issues related to PURPA.

McGinn Featured at Roundtable – The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) will hold a new Defense & National Security Roundtable on Wednesday, March 30th at 4:00 p.m. featuring Dennis McGinn.  The event is part of a bi-monthly roundtable series featuring special guests from across sectors discussing critical climate change and national security initiatives in a town hall format.  McGinn, currently Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment), was the former director of ACORE.

Energy to Host QER Meetings Around Country – The Department of Energy has announced a series of public meetings around the country to seek input on the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER 1.2), which is a study the of the nation’s electricity system from generation to end-use. The stated purpose of the QER 1.2 is to develop a set of findings and policy recommendations to help guide the modernization of the nation’s electric grid and ensure its reliability, safety, security, affordability and environmental performance through 2040.  Meetings will include remarks from government officials, moderated panel discussions with public and private sector energy experts, and open microphone/public comment sessions. Meeting dates and locations will include Atlanta, GA (3/31), Boston, MA (4/15), Salt Lake City, UT (4/25), Des Moines, IA (5/6), Los Angeles, CA (5/10) and Austin, TX.

DOE Official to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Dr. Paula Gant, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Energy for Its monthly lunch at the University Club.  Previously, Gant served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas in the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.  As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Gant administered domestic and international oil and gas programs, including policy analysis and liquefied natural gas import and export authorization.

Energy Conference Set – The Energy Smart Conference will be held at the Gaylord on April 4-6th.  The event features top enterprises, energy service providers, and technology leaders to rethink the industry and refine energy management.  Main speakers will be Colin Powell, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us Daniel Pink and Green to Gold Author Andrew Winston.

RFF to Launch Revesz/Lienke Book – Resources for the Future will hold a book launch on April 5th for the book, Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal” by Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke.   Pro EPA advocates Revesz and Lienke argue that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and the Clean Power Plan are the latest in a long line of efforts by presidential administrations of both parties to compensate for a tragic flaw in the Clean Air Act of 1970—the “grandfathering” that spared existing power plants from complying with the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions limits applicable to new plants. At this discussion, Revesz and Lienke will clarify their arguments and a panel of experts will weigh in on the inherent challenges of Clean Air Act regulations and the future of environmental policies such as the Clean Power Plan.  A panel of experts will discuss the issues.

FERC’s Honorable to Headline Energy Times Forum – The Energy Times will hold a conference on California Renewables at the Fairmont San Francisco on April 6th.  Keynoters will in broad strokes paint a picture of what is happening in the world of electric utilities, energy infrastructure and the power grid today. They will suggest what will be needed in the future and they will begin our consideration of what it will take for us to get there.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable and Edison International’s Andrew Murphy, among many others.

RFF to Look at Deforestation – Resources for the Future will hold its First Wednesday Seminar on April 6th at 12:45 p.m. that focused on the opportunities for and challenges of reducing supply chain deforestation using private and regulatory strategies, potential synergies among these strategies, and linkages with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).  The event will feature leading companies, nongovernmental organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives using and promoting these approaches.

HuffPost Podcast to Be Featured – Our friend Dana Yeganian, former Progress Energy PR person, is hosting a Happy Hour on Thursday, April 7th at NBCUniversal’s office at 300 NJ Ave featuring the new HuffPost podcast Candidate Confessional.  CC Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Chekis will provide an inside look at life on the losing side of the campaign trial.

Rogers Headlines Clean Energy Challenge Forum – The Clean Energy Challenge is hold a conference in Chicago on April 12th featuring capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives to recognize cleantech innovation.  The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 60+ businesses throughout the Midwest.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Ripple Foods CEO Adam Lowry.

USAEE Washington Energy Conference Set for Georgetown – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) and the Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club will host its 20th Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference on Wednesday, April 13th at Georgetown University.   The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Bill Hogan, of Harvard University and our friends Monica Trauzzi of E&E TV, former NYT reporter Matt Wald of NEI and GDF Suez exec Rob Minter.

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at the Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the uncertainties of shale resource development under low price environment.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

Energy Update: Week of November 16

Friends,

 

Last Friday’s attack in Paris have now taken up a large portion of the news coverage and cast a long shadow on the upcoming Paris Climate meetings.  While most leaders are dedicated to forging on, reports are showing that the security will be much tighter and many outside groups that had planned to attend are now reconsider plans.  Already, the French have suggested that side events will be cancelled.  We will keep you In the loop as to what we hear.

 

With Paris two weeks away, leaders of the G20 countries were meeting in Turkey this weekend and upcoming climate talks did make the agenda as a major topic.  One interesting twist out of the meeting so far seems to be an unwillingness from India and Saudi Arabia to agree to five-year reviews.  This may be a signal as to how some will approach the talks in Paris.

 

Congress returns this week for a pre-Thanksgiving session and there will be significant action on the climate issues.  Both the Senate Environment Committee and the House Science Committee will hold hearings Wednesday on the negotiations.  Meanwhile, the House Energy & Commerce Committee will move resolutions of disapproval on the Administration’s GHG rule for new and existing power plants through Committee and to the Floor, although the House Schedulers have said the resolutions will not get a vote this week – the last days in session before the beginning of the Paris conference.    Many are expecting a House vote the week following Thanksgiving while the President is in Paris.

 

Finally, throughout the week, EPA will hold public hearings in Denver, DC and Atlanta on the controversial Federal portion of the GHG rule.  The Denver action starts today while DC is Wednesday/Thursday and Atlanta is Thursday and Friday.  We have folks sharing their views at all the hearings, including our friends at Tri-State in Denver and Segal here in DC.

 

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Miss State Report: Energy Security is Viable through Use of CO2-EOR – Using CO2-EOR as a framework could lead to energy security and result in a new United States energy policy, according to a new report from the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center, a research unit (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University. “CO2-EOR can advance a “triple e” approach resulting in energy security, environmental quality and economic viability,” said Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, executive director of NSPARC.  Parisi said CO2-EOR is a mature technology that creates a safe, secure and economically viable supply of fossil fuel-based energy and reduces CO2-EOR emissions. The CO2-EOR technology generates around 300,000 barrels of oil each day in the U.S., or about three percent of all the oil produced, leaving room for substantial growth. In Mississippi, in the latest year reported, around 50 percent of oil produced was extracted by means of CO2-EOR, said Parisi. Another economic advantage of the CO2-EOR technology in Mississippi, added Parisi, is that pipeline infrastructure continues to expand with private sector investment, which has the advantage of not being subject to common carrier provisions.

 

Kemper Cost Agreement Set – Speaking of Kemper, last week Mississippi Power and Mississippi Public Service Commission staff reached an agreement related to the recovery of certain costs for portions of the Kemper County energy facility that are already in service. While the innovative coal gasification project is expected to be completed next year, the facility has already been generating electricity to meet Mississippi Power customers’ energy needs using natural gas for more than a year. The agreement is contingent upon PSC approval.  Part of the deal includes Mississippi Power Co. accepting a smaller rate increase for part of Kemper.  The agreement will reduce the increase to 15% from 18%. For a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, rates would fall from $144 a month to about $138. More on this here.

 

House Energy Leaders Question EPA Delay of Routine, Nonpartisan Codification of Law – House Energy Committee leaders sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seeking further information concerning apparent efforts by the agency to prevent the codification of an important provision of the Clean Air Act. Based on documents introduced at a House Judiciary Committee markup earlier this week, it appears that EPA officials may have inhibited the nonpartisan congressional Office of Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) as it sought to fulfill its responsibility to codify the language used in the Clean Air Act and other statutory provisions. OLRC has been undertaking a systematic, multi-year process and EPA has declined for almost seven years to review the codification bills submitted by the OLRC to the Judiciary Committee. During this time period the agency was developing its proposed (Clean Air Act section) 111(d) rule for existing power plants. The correspondence appears to show that EPA may have been blocking this routine, statutorily-prescribed process because it would undermine the agency’s legal arguments supporting its 111(d) rulemaking.

 

Wisconsin Field Hearing Blasts CPP, Water Rule – Sen. Ron Johnson hosted a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee field hearing at the Dreyfus University Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on Friday.  Johnson, chairman of the panel who is locked in a reelection battle, heard from state government and trade group officials that hammered EPA for its rules, specifically the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Bruce Ramme, a vice president at WEC Energy Group Inc., said EPA’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants could lead to higher energy costs: “One thing is certain: Costs will increase for our customers,” Ramme said.  The Wisconsin Farm Bureau blasted the water rule and Wisconsin assistant deputy attorney general Danielle Breuer called the rule “the largest overreach we have seen in decades.”

 

AGA Report Shows Growth, Success of Federal Pipeline Safety Program – America’s natural gas pipeline network is safer and more reliable today than at any other point in history. According to a report published last week by the American Gas Foundation entitled Natural Gas Pipeline Safety and Reliability: An Assessment of Progress, this is due to collaborative efforts between industry, federal and local regulators and programs set forth in federal legislation passed in 2006 and 2011 that are still being instituted. The report states that observations to date indicate that these new approaches are making meaningful contributions to the safety of customers and communities.  The report charts the growth of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) oversight of the nation’s federal pipeline safety program for more than five decades. The program has expanded significantly, growing from a fledgling agency with a handful of federal employees and very limited financial resources to a more robust regulator with a projected federal workforce of more than 300 federal employees and almost $150 million in annual funding. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the DOT, shows a significant reduction over the last two decades in the number of natural gas pipeline incidents per year involving fatalities or injuries.

 

IEA Details Oil Price Forecast – The International Energy Agency predicted last week that oil prices will likely to remain flat until demand catches up to supply in 2020.  Then, IEA says they expect crude prices to go back to around $80 per barrel.  In its annual energy outlook, the IEA also predicted that China would increasingly rely on natural gas while demand for oil in developed countries like the United States will continue to decline.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

CSIS Global Forum Set – CSIS’s International Security Program will hold its flagship annual Global Security Forum 2015 today.  It will feature John Brennan as Keynote and will have an energy panel that features EIA Director Adam Sieminski as a panelist.

 

Hudson Forum to Look at China, US Emission, Energy – The Hudson Institute will host a day-long conference today featuring energy policy experts from both China and the U.S.  As the world’s second largest economy, China’s energy demands are growing fast. In the next fifteen years, China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest oil consumer, and Russia as the world’s second largest natural gas consumer. By 2035, China is expected to become the world’s largest energy importer, as its energy production rises 47%, while consumption rises by 60%. China’s oil import dependence is projected to rise from 60% in 2013 to 75% in 2035.

 

Fuel Cell Seminar Set for LA – The 2015 Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition will be held in Los Angeles this week at the Westin Bonaventure.  The event is the premier U.S. conference for the fuel cell and hydrogen industry and attracts an international audience.  The Fuel Cell Seminar features the latest fuel cell and hydrogen products, technical and market research, policy updates and commercialization strategies for all applications and market sectors. The Fuel Cell Seminar is the foremost event for networking with industry representatives, customers, stakeholders and decision makers interested in the clean, reliable, and resilient power potential of fuel cells.

 

Solar Groups Look at Green Building – The SunShot Initiative, SEIA, and PVMC are hosting a Green Building Solar Summit today at 1:00 p.m. that will coincide with Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which will bring thousands of architects, builders, and real estate professionals to Washington DC.  The Summit will feature a mix of panels and facilitated discussion to explore critical structural, contractual and financial barriers and identify opportunities to work collaboratively to find innovative solutions and expand the commercial solar market.  Elaine Ulrich, Program Manager, Soft Costs with the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, and Rhone Resch, President & CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association, will open the day with introductory remarks followed by a series of lighting talks to provide context on the trends and issues across the solar and green building communities. PVMC will also provide a preview of its 2016 Commercial Solar Initiative.  The second part of the afternoon will be dedicated to engaging the commercial real estate and green building communities in discussion on innovative financing instruments. SEIA will also present its new Finance Initiative, spearheaded by the organization’s Senior Director, Project Finance, and Mike Mendelsohn.

 

VLS Forum to Look at CPP –The Vermont Law School tomorrow holds its second annual alumni in Energy Symposium will look at EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the lawsuits challenging it. This panel will discuss the ongoing litigation related to the Clean Power Plan and likely outcomes.  Speakers will include NRDC’s David Doniger, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, former EPA General Counsel and industry Coalition legal lead Roger Martella and NYU’s Richard Revesz.

 

Wilson Center to Focus on Climate, Security Issues – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will release a report exploring the intersection of climate change, drivers of insecurity, and U.S. national security priorities in the Asia-Pacific region.  As the United States reorients its foreign policy approach to the Asia-Pacific region, it must seriously consider the impacts of climate change, argues a new report from the Center for Climate and Security. How can the United States help improve the region’s climate resilience, and at the same time, strategically adapt to a rapidly changing security environment?

 

EPA CAAAC to Meet on Ozone Implementation, CPP – EPA will host a CAAAC and Air Toxics Work Group meetings tomorrow and Wednesday.

 

McCarthy to Talk Energy with Bloomberg – On Wednesday, Bloomberg will host a breakfast conversation with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, managing editors of Bloomberg Politics and hosts of “With All Due Respect” on Bloomberg Television, to discuss the future of energy and where the 2016 candidates stand.   EPA’s Gina McCarthy will sit down with Mark and John for an interview about the state of energy and climate policy in America, followed by a wide-ranging panel discussion about how policy and politics intersect to shape the energy marketplace, featuring former South Carolina Republican Congressman and Executive Director of republicEn.org Bob Inglis, GE Ventures’ Senior Executive Director of Energy Ventures Colleen Calhoun, and more.

 

EPA to Host DC Public Hearing On Power Plant  Rule – WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY

 

Senate Enviro to Hold Climate Hearing – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing examining the International Climate negotiations.  Witnesses will include Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy VP Steve Eule, Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and several others.

 

Former EPA Official to Address Climate Issues – ICF will host an Energy Breakfast on Thursday at the National Press Club to look at the Paris Climate Meeting.  Starting in late November, the 21st  meeting of the Council of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will gather in Paris to deliberate on how countries can individually and collectively mitigate global climate change.  Former EPA #2 Bob Perciasepe, a regular participant in these negotiations, as he handicaps the negotiations and informs us about what will be the “make or break” issues in Paris this time.

 

House Science Tackle Paris Climate Meeting – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the international climate discussions.  Witnesses will include NERA Expert Anne Smith, ERCOT General Counsel Bill Magness, CT DEEP Deputy Commissioner Katie Dykes, and Cato’s Paul Knappenberger.

 

Science Looks at National Labs – Later that afternoon at 2:00 p.m., House Science will hold a hearing to examine the recommendations of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories.  Witnesses will include TJ Glauthier and Jared Cohon, Co-Chairs of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, as well as Peter Littlewood, Director of the Argonne National Laboratory.

 

POSTPONED — Senate Energy to Look at Well Control Rule – Thursday’s Senate Energy Committee oversight hearing on the Well Control Rule and other regulations related to offshore oil and gas production has been postponed to early December.

 

Carolina Climate on My Mind – The UNC Institute for the Environment (IE) Energy and Environment Seminar Series will host an energy discussion with Wall Street Journal reporter Amy Harder on Thursday.  The seminar presents speakers working in the nexus between issues of energy management, policy and technology, and environmental concerns.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Solutions – DC Net Impact will hold a discussion on Thursday looking at how donor agencies and implementers are adapting to, and mitigating the effects of, climate change in the energy and agriculture sectors. In addition to discussing climate change, the panelists will describe their career paths and answer your questions.

 

Forum to Look at Russian Oil Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Tatiana Mitrova, Head of the Oil and Gas Department at the Energy Research Institute in Moscow  on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss her latest paper on the Russian energy sector. Russia remains one of the of the world’s largest hydrocarbon resource holders, producers, and exporters. It is a dominant supplier both for Europe and for its neighbors. Russia is now going through an uncertain economic and energy transition.  Mitrova will present the initial findings of her research on how the Russian oil and gas sector is evolving, including an examination of future potential changes under a range of oil price scenarios and potential ways Russia might use to overcome those challenges.

 

Rep. Beyer to Host Climate Forum I Arlington – On Thursday at 7:00 p.m.,  U.S. Rep. Don Beyer will host a forum on climate change in the auditorium of George Mason University’s Arlington campus.  Panelists will include experts from government, academia and nonprofit organizations, including Megan Ceronsky of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, EPA’s Shawn Garvin, GMU’s Mona Sarfaty and NRDC’s Aliya Haq.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Cheniere Exec to Discuss LNG at NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Cheniere’s vice president of finance, Tarek Souki to be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, November 24th luncheon.  He will discuss the outlook for natural gas exports from the US and the dynamics of the global LNG market including supply, demand and pricing linkages to Henry Hub.

 

THANKSGIVING – November 26

 

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th  to December 11th

 

IEA Outlook Discussed at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 on Monday November 30th at 1:00 p.m. The presentation will include updated projections for the evolution of the global energy system to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, as well as detailed insights on the prospects for fossil fuels, renewables, the power sector and energy efficiency and analysis on trends in CO2 emissions and fossil-fuel and renewable energy subsidies.   In addition, the WEO 2015 includes in-depth analysis on several key issues including the implications of a lower oil price future, India’s energy sector, on the competitive position of fast-growing renewable energy technologies in different markets, new analysis of energy efficiency policies, and unconventional gas with a particular focus on China.

 

Transmission Forum Set – The 5th  annual TransForum East, will be held December 1st and 2nd in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown.  As in previous Forum events, our presenters and panelists have been hand selected by the TransmissionHub editorial team to address the most important issues facing stakeholders in the Eastern Interconnection. You can view the agenda and speaker lineup here.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be Held in December 8th and 9th in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

 

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday, December 9th at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

 

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its December 10th Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda.

 

Energy Update: Week of October 26

Friends,

 

Last week ended with a bang with the publication of the EPA GHG rule regulating power plants.  And I didn’t really event get to celebrate “Back to the Future” Day Thursday (10/21/2015) because we were so busy with GHGs, ozone and other things. Below you’ll see a full recap of the late-week action including statements from States suing over the GHG rule and a bunch of industry comments.

 

Speaking of industry, if you just missed the industry legal experts discussions of the petitions challenging the new EPA GHG rule, let us know and we can get you connected to get you questions/concerns addressed.

 

On the Hill, we get a vote for the new House Speaker, but also the start of Congressional Action on challenging the GHG rule.  While success on that review is unlikely, it will continue the On-going discussion of the challenges facing states, communities and industries.  If you are looking for a good read on some of the challenges being created by the new GHG rules, take a look at this weekend’s Washington Post piece on the dilemma facing rural cooperatives.

 

Finally, with Halloween set for Saturday, I am preparing to launch my annual flavored pumpkin seed effort.  Besides the old standby flavors, I’m trying to think of something clever this year for the palate.   Send me your ideas!!!

 

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

THE BIG NEWS

 

GHG Rule Finally Published – EPA’s power plant carbon rules were published in the Federal Register last Friday. The publication opens up a 60-day window for states and companies opposed to the rule to file lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  The Clean Power Plan, covering existing power plants, is available here. The rule for new, modified and reconstructed power plants is here . And the proposed federal implementation plan, set for finalization next year, is available here.

 

Delays Delays – It was speculated that the Administration might try to delay the rule from its August 3rd date to prevent challenges from emerging before the UN Climate conference in Paris.   Below is a chart that details the last six major EPA rules proposed in 2015 (and the 2011 MATS Rule for good measure).  You can see that the average for most rules is 27 days.  This rule took 81 days.  The MATS rule, another controversial rule that eventually was overturned by the Supreme Court was 57 days, double the regular average.

 

 

AGs File Suit Immediately – WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a coalition of 23 other States in a lawsuit asking a federal court to strike down the EPA’s GHG rule for Power plants.  MORRISEY: “The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “West Virginia is proud to be leading the charge against this Administration’s blatant and unprecedented attack.  EPA claims to have sweeping power to enact such regulations based on a rarely-used provision of the Clean Air Act but such legal authority simply does not exist,” Morrisey said.

What Did the AGs Do? – They filed a Petition for Review Friday morning and the Stay Motions Friday afternoon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  In the filing, the States argue the Rule is illegal and will have devastating impacts upon the States and their citizens.   The Section 111(d) rule exceeds EPA’s authority by unlawfully forcing States to fundamentally alter state resource-planning and energy policy by shifting from coal-fired generation to other sources of power generation, with a significant emphasis on renewable sources. The Rule is also illegal because it seeks to require States to regulate coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, even though EPA already regulates those same plants under Section 112 of the Act.

Who are the States? – The States challenging the Rule include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporations Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The states of Oklahoma and North Dakota filed their own challenges.

The Petition – You can see a copy of the Petition for Review can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1jYApFR

 

The Usual Suspects – EPA has states siding with them too.  15 states are supporting the rule and you won’t be surprised by most.  The states include New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York.

 

Congressional Action Up First – House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy Panel chair Ed Whitfield said Friday he would advance Congressional Review Act resolutions to formally disapprove of the rules.  Also Friday, Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY), along with Sens. Capito (R-WV), Manchin (D-WV), and Heitkamp (D-ND), introduced the Senate counterpart.  The Capito/Heitkamp press statement is here:  http://www.wvva.com/story/30335275/2015/10/23/senator-capito-to-introduce-resolution-to-overturn-epas-clean-power-plan

 

ICYMI:  A Round Up of Statements – In case you missed it, here is a round of some industry Statements on the action:

 

PBEF Statement – The Partnership for A Better Energy Future offer the following remarks regarding the publication of EPA’s Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register.  The rule has taken 81 days to be published, 54 days longer than the average of the previous six major EPA rules released in 2015.  (their average was 27 days): “This regulation will be exceptionally difficult for our States and businesses to meet.  It is why half of the States and their legal officers are already raising concerns about this rule that will  increase energy prices and threaten electric reliability. PBEF members are committed to being responsible stewards of our environment, leading the way in that effort, and we know we have all options on the table, including legal action, to prevent EPA’s regulatory power grab from taking effect.  As dozens of states and numerous other stakeholders know firsthand, the EPA’s effort to shut down existing power plants will drive up energy prices for businesses and consumers alike.  It will inflict significant damage to our entire economy and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

 

US Chamber – “The EPA’s rule is unlawful and a bad deal for America. It will drive up electricity costs for businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness—without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “According to EPA’s own predictions, if this rule is allowed to go into effect on EPA’s schedule, numerous electricity plants will be forced to shut down within the next year, causing job losses in communities throughout the country. Not only are these regulations bad for our economy, they also represent a massive executive power grab. EPA completely bypassed the legislative branch, basing its 2,000-page rule on roughly 300 words in the Clean Air Act and including a host of policies that have already been considered and rejected by Congress.”

 

National Assn of Manufacturers – NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly issued the following statement announcing the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action’s (MCLA) challenge to the Administration’s Clean Power Plan:  “This regulation unlawfully exceeds the EPA’s authority, proposing a seismic change to the power industry and our national economy. The NAM filed hundreds of pages of comments with the EPA seeking to improve the proposed rule; these comments were largely ignored, leaving manufacturers no choice but to seek judicial intervention.  Manufacturers need abundant and reliable supplies of energy and reasonable and predictable policies that allow for continued investment and growth. This plan restricts resources and reduces reliability, while setting a dangerous precedent for future regulation of other sectors. Manufacturers can’t sit by while this Administration makes it increasingly difficult to make things and create jobs in the United States, especially at a time when the regulatory weight borne by manufacturers is heavier than ever. Manufacturers have been and remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, manufacturers have made great strides, lowering emissions by more than 10 percent since 2005. Unfortunately, this regulation disregards basic economic realities and clear limits established by Congress to the EPA’s authority.  Manufacturers will continue to be responsible stewards of our environment and will continue to lead in reducing emissions. With reasonable policies that allow for growth and innovation, we will continue developing solutions to tackle our biggest environmental challenges, but this approach is not the answer.”

 

National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said the EPA is doing “an end-run around Congress by imposing in the form of regulation a law that the legislative branch of government has already expressly rejected,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.  “This is a crystal clear violation of the constitutional separation of powers.”   NFIB research shows that the cost of electricity is already a top concern among small business owners across the country.  “Small businesses will be squeezed between higher direct expenses and lower consumer demand resulting from higher home electric bills,” said Harned.  “Everyone remembers the effect that high gasoline prices had on the economy.  This will have a similar effect except that it will be permanent.  The EPA has dramatically overstepped its authority here and the consequences for the economy will be just as dramatic, especially for small businesses.”

 

American Iron & Steel Institute – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI: “This rule puts the affordability of electricity for steel producers at serious risk.  The leading states for iron and steel production in the U.S. are heavily dependent on coal for electricity production.  This rule will have a disproportionate impact on steel states and hinder economic growth for steel producers.” Gibson said that the new regulations could cause nationwide electricity prices to increase between six and seven percent. He said this electricity economic impact will be exacerbated for the steel industry due to the regional differences in current fuel mix and the cost to switch to other fuels for the generation of electricity.  He also noted that utilities that serve the steel industry have raised concerns that the rule could also have negative impacts on reliability.  He added, “These new regulations put steel producers in the U.S. at a disadvantage against competitors in other nations that generally have higher rates of greenhouse gas emissions, and many of which benefit from subsidized energy costs. This would have a devastating impact on the steel industry and our workers.” Gibson said the litigation focuses on the fact that the new rule exceeds the established bounds of EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and sweeps virtually all aspects of electricity production within EPA’s control.  The court challenge also points out that new bureaucracies would be created as states and industries would have to overhaul the power sector, including passing new laws to ensure the permitting, construction, and funding of EPA’s preferred power sources and shutting down existing disfavored plants.   AISI and other associations last year submitted joint comments to the EPA indicating the new regulations could severely harm the international competitiveness of energy-intensive, trade-exposed U.S. industries.

 

Wood, Paper Products Manufacturers – American Wood Council (AWC) President and CEO Robert Glowinski and American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman have issued the following statements after signing onto a joint petition for review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Power Plan in the D.C. Circuit Court.   Glowinski, President and CEO, AWC: “EPA has overreached with its Clean Power Plan in how it seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Despite claims of flexibility, EPA has actually limited the types of renewable energy states can use, which includes our industry’s production and use of biomass energy. AWC joins this litigation in order to ensure continued use of renewable energy and to support states’ ability, as some have already done, to fully recognize biomass energy as a critical component of clean power.”  Donna Harman, President and CEO, AF&PA: “Energy is an essential element for paper and wood products manufacturing. We are concerned that this final rule will threaten availability of affordable electricity and reliability of the electricity grid system. AF&PA joins this litigation to protect the global competitiveness of our industry, which is among the top 10 manufacturing employers in 47 states. We hope the court will grant our requested stay while these serious legal challenges are heard.”

 

American Petrochemical & Fuel Manufacturers (AFPM) – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President Chet Thompson commented on the rule and the precedent that it sets: “EPA’s Clean Power Plan stands unparalleled in its legal overreach and effect on the U.S. economy. The agency has veered from its statutory authority in an attempt to control electricity production by forcing the use of more expensive energy sources in the United States. Allowing this rule to stand, will cause irreparable injury and substantial harm to U.S. manufacturing and energy infrastructure, and ultimately the public by way of higher electricity costs and a less reliable grid.”

 

National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn (NRECA) — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.  “This rule goes far beyond what the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to do and will challenge our nation’s electric system,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “These complicated regulations will force cooperatives to close power plants, which are producing affordable electricity for consumers who were counting on them for decades to come. Co-op consumer-members will be saddled with higher energy bills as a result of this regulatory over-reach. Therefore, we have asked the court to intervene and recognize the lack of legal authority behind the EPA’s regulation.” Thirty-seven generation and transmission cooperatives from across the country joined NRECA in the legal filings.

 

Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) – ERCC Director Scott Segal, said the final version of the Clean Power Plan appeared in the Federal Register after a delay of some 81 days since it was signed and announced with much fanfare by the EPA Administrator. Segal call it an unprecedented delay that is either indicative of major flaws that needed to be corrected in the final rule or an attempt to avoid the imposition of a judicial stay while U.S. diplomats are in Paris for the next major climate conference. In any event, the publication delay is about three times longer than other major EPA rules finalized in 2015. Segal: “It is now indisputable that one of the farthest reaching, most legally tenuous, and least cost-effective rules ever dreamed up by a federal agency can finally be challenged in court and under the Congressional Review Act.  The rule is based on a legally untenable theory that, contrary to forty years of precedent, EPA may regulate a sector by forcing investment in other, unrelated businesses or competing technologies completely outside of its facilities. In effect, EPA is simply mandating the shutdown of many coal-fired power plants throughout the country and ordering that wind and solar plants be built to take their place. If the rule stands, it will expand EPA authority over the states and the regulated community in ways that Congress never intended. In total, there are probably a dozen legal arguments likely to be raised by states, the regulated community, and even some environmental groups in subsequent litigation.”  Segal said the rule is a prime target to be set aside by the courts or the Congress.  Aside from weak legal support, the rule is costly and undermines electric reliability.   Segal also said the purported health benefits of the rule have been exposed as double counting of benefits the Agency has previously attributed to other rules.  And recent Supreme Court decisions show a marked willingness to revisit legal theories that EPA has previously claimed as a basis for deference.

 

National Mining Assn – In order to prevent significant and imminent harm to scores of states’ economies and millions of consumers nationwide, the National Mining Association (NMA) today asked a federal court to stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) controversial Clean Power Plan until legal challenges to the rule are resolved.   NMA’s filing in D.C. Circuit Court, together with similar filings from states all over the nation and business interests, confirms the growing concern with the immediate economic consequences of EPA’s plan to transform the nation’s electric grid. The rule’s publication in the Federal Register today formally sets in motion a protracted process for legal challenges to the rule.  “We are today asking the court to weigh carefully the far-reaching harm this rule will inflict immediately, well in advance of its effective date,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn. “The immediacy of substantial harm from this power plant rule is plain from EPA’s own data that show it will cause more than 200 coal-fired power plants to close before courts have time to decide the legality of the rule.”  EPA’s 2012 mercury rule was a bad omen of pain to come, said Quinn. “What happened with EPA’s mercury rule cannot be repeated. That costly regulation resulted in far greater closure of power plants than EPA anticipated, and was promulgated, as was this rule, with cavalier disregard for its probable costs to the economy.”  While that rule was ultimately found unlawful due to EPA’s failure to consider costs, the damage it imposed to the grid and the economy cannot be undone.

 

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) – Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE said: “With this action, EPA is finally opening the floodgates for litigation against its deeply flawed, illegal carbon rule. Officials preparing for the upcoming climate change talks in Paris should take note of the widespread opposition from policymakers and elected officials across the Unites States who are working overtime to protect their constituents, state economies and the nation as a whole from the President’s reckless pursuit of his climate legacy. We are hopeful they will be successful and that the courts act quickly and decisively to quash this illegal rule.”

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

ACI Report Features First-Ever “Critical Issue” Assessment for Cleaning Products Industry – The American Cleaning Institute released its new Sustainability Report, which contains our first-ever “materiality assessment” that maps the critical risks and opportunities facing the U.S. cleaning product value chain, including key energy and environmental metrics. The materiality assessment, conducted by sustainability analytics firm Framework LLC, identifies and characterizes those issues that are most material across ACI’s membership and to the industry at large. Companies committed to sustainability have increasingly informed their strategies and reporting by conducting such analyses, but the ACI assessment is among the first across the value chain of an entire industry sector. In 2014, 33 ACI member companies, including cleaning product makers and upstream ingredient suppliers, contributed environmental metrics data for ACI’s Sustainability Metrics Program. The program captured sustainability performance for 17.3 million metric tons of cleaning product-related production, and its results are detailed in the 2015 Report.

 

EPA Ozone Rules Set for Today – EPA’s controversial Ozone rule will be published in Monday’s Federal Register, according to a pre-publication notice out today.  The new standard of 70 parts per billion is stricter than 75 ppb standard the George W. Bush administration set in 2008, but it’s far laxer than the 60 ppb standard environmental and public health groups advocated for.  The subject was the major topic at the House Science Committee last Thursday where my colleague Jeff Holmstead testified.  Holmstead said the rule could end industrial development in many parts of the country  argued the areas of the country that would be out of compliance when the standards come into effect between 2020 and 2037 would not be able to allow any new businesses, such as factories, that may cause ozone emissions.  He said the costs of the regulation will be passed down to consumers because many of the cheap options for reducing ozone already have been done

 

Chamber: EPA Ozone Regs Could Threaten DFW Area Transportation Projects –speaking of ozone, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy continued its analysis of the impact of the Obama administration’s proposed ozone regulations with a snapshot look at the Dallas-Fort Worth region.  The Energy Institute’s Grinding to a Halt series explains how Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to tighten ozone standards could impact critical transportation projects nationwide. In the Dallas-Fort Worth region, state and local governments are working to address stifling traffic congestion through plans that include $40 billion for construction and expansion of freeways to accommodate additional vehicle capacity and population growth. But many projects that are part of those plans—such as the I-820 Loop Southeast Reconstruction project between Fort Worth and Arlington—could be threatened by EPA’s recently tightened standard.  Under the Clean Air Act, the federal government is authorized to withhold transportation funding and halt permitting for highway and transit projects in regions unable to demonstrate compliance with emissions rules. The Dallas-Fort Worth region is among many areas in Texas and across the country expected to have great difficulty complying. Previous Energy Institute reports identified challenges in the Washington, DC, Las Vegas and Denver regions.

 

Report: US Top 5 Country for New Solar Module Manufacturing – GTM Research released a new report, the Global PV Manufacturing Attractiveness Index 2015, or PVMAX, which ranks the world’s most attractive countries in which to manufacture solar PV modules. Perhaps most surprisingly, the PVMAX finds that the United States is the world’s fifth-most attractive module manufacturing country.  The global PV module market is facing a looming supply crunch, and manufacturers have taken notice. According to GTM Research, 6.6 gigawatts of new module manufacturing capacity have been contracted through the first nine months of this year, all of it in countries outside of China. Despite these planned plants, the global market may face a supply shortage over the next two years as demand grows.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Catholic U to Hold Discussion on Pope, Environment – The Catholic University of America, in conjunction with the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will host a daylong conference today examining Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s recent encyclical on the environment.   The conference, “Laudato Si’and the Protection of ‘Our Common Home’: Faith and Science in Conversation,” will take place in Heritage Hall of Father O’Connell Hall. The conference will include lectures by Catholic University faculty members from the fields of theology, business and economics, architecture, and philosophy, as well as invited experts on environmental science and domestic social policy. Topics discussed will include Catholic social teaching, the current scientific understanding of climate change, human responsibility for the natural world, and solidarity within the human community.

 

Solar Workshops Set – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will host the first of 2 upcoming workshops on solar energy for the DMV local and regional businesses today at 10:00 a.m. The goal of these sessions is to convene stakeholders to discuss resources, opportunities, and barriers for commercial projects in the solar market. Invited participants include local government clean energy program representatives, experts from the DOE SunShot Initiative, building owners and commercial business leaders.

 

Forum to Feature World Bank Economist – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum today at 12:30 p.m. featuring Anne Fay, Chief Economist at the World Bank.  As the threat of global climate change continues to develop, environmental and sustainability concerns will increasingly play key roles in the direction of infrastructure development and of economic growth in general. Fay will speak on the topic of de-carbonizing development. Her presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

 

USAEE/IAEE North American Energy Conference – Today through Wednesday in Pittsburgh, the US Association for Energy Economics will hold a conference  featuring high-level business, government and academic opinion shapers exploring today’s dynamic energy landscape. Speakers include Don Santa, President and CEO, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, US Energy Information Administrator Adam Sieminski, Guy Caruso, Senior Advisor, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS and Edward Morse Managing Director, Citigroup. John Kingston, President of the McGraw-Hill Financial Global Institute and former director of news for Platts  to receive IAEE Journalism Award.  For full conference details check @usenergyecon or #USAEE2015

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Renewables in Developing World – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center is hosting a forum on scaling up renewables in the developing world.  The forum will be a day-long exploration of the innovative tools being harnessed by the public and private sectors to scale up renewable energy in the developing world.  Speakers will also explore how renewable energy will help countries meet the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and support their climate change commitments.  They include Sen. Ed Markey, US AID’s Eric Postel, EEI’s David Owens and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Ethan Zindler.

 

BPC Looks at Nuclear Waste – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Nuclear Waste Council will hold a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the challenges and solutions to America’s nuclear waste management, as well as the next steps to be taken by the Nuclear Waste Council to bring this conversation to implementation.  The panel was designed to reinvigorate and expand the discussion on nuclear waste, identify barriers prohibiting progress on storage and disposal of the waste, and explore options to create a viable national strategy for its long-term and safe disposition.  Over the past 18 months, the council has traveled across the country to discuss nuclear waste issues with industry and community leaders, and recently published a series of issue briefs outlining findings from those meetings and updating the state of play on storage, transportation and other topics.

 

NYU Energy Conference Set –The NYU Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold its 7th annual fall conference on energy policy in NYC.  The event will feature noted experts from government, the private sector, and academia will discuss what to expect as the energy landscape evolves.

 

Members to Launch Congressional Battery Caucus – Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.) will officially kick off the Congressional Battery Energy Storage Caucus tomorrow afternoon, during an event featuring the Energy Storage Association and representatives of storage companies.  The caucus will be “dedicated to advancing understanding of how energy storage systems are enabling American businesses and homeowners to better access reliable, affordable, and sustainable electric power

 

Spectra Exec to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host William Yardley, president of Spectra Energy’s U.S. transmission business, as guest speaker at tomorrow’s luncheon.  Yardley will speak about the benefits of natural gas, and the important role of pipelines and related infrastructure in addressing energy security, economic and environmental policy challenges facing our nation.  He leads the business development, project execution, operations and environment, health and safety efforts associated with Spectra Energy’s U.S. portfolio of natural gas transmission and storage businesses.

 

Gibson to Headline Climate Focus – The Friends Committee on National Legislation, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, RepublicEN and the American Security Project hosts a briefing tomorrow at 12:00 noon in B340 Rayburn that highlights solutions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences that are already being implemented by members of the business, national security, and faith communities.  The briefing will create awareness of the risks and opportunities that climate change offers to business, national security, and faith communities, and hopes to inspire bipartisan cooperation in Congress to catalyze solutions.  Among the speakers will be Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY).

 

Library of Congress Forum to Feature China Energy Policy Discussion – Tomorrow at Noon, The Library of Congress will host Noon – 1:00 p.m. Joanna Lewis in the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Asian Reading Room. Lewis, a professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, will give a lecture on “Chinese Energy Policy.”

 

Brookings to Look at Renewables in Germany – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host a discussion on renewable energy transitions in Germany and Japan as a follow-up to a policy brief released on this issue last September. Agora Energiewende Director Patrick Graichen and Yu Nagatomi, a researcher with the Power Market Study Group at the Institute of Energy Economics in Japan, will provide initial remarks. ESCI Nonresident Senior Fellow John P. Banks will join in the discussion.

 

Georgetown Expert to Discuss at European Energy – JHU will host a forum tomorrow evening looking at European Energy issues. JHU’s European and Eurasian Studies Program’s Distinguished Lecture Series host a lecture by Dr. Brenda Shaffer of Georgetown University on “Europe’s Energy Security.”

 

McConnell to Headline FOIA Group Gala – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute will hold a gala with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tomorrow evening.  McConnell will receive the group’s 2015 Champion of Free Market Environmentalism Award Recipient.  The Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues.  Primarily through its strategic litigation efforts, E&E Legal seeks to address and correct onerous federal and state governmental actions that negatively impact energy and the environment.

 

Stimson to Host Nuclear Summit – The Stimson Center will host a panel on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. on opportunities for incentives such as insurance, finance and limited liability to reduce nuclear risk while providing a return on investment to operators.  As the Nuclear Security Summit series draws to a close, the prospects dim for development of binding nuclear security standards to assure future safe, secure industry expansion. With DOE/NNSA’s Anne Harrington as the keynote and some key stakeholders participating, this event will explore the role that voluntary consensus standards could play in the nuclear industry, with a focus on cyber security and other areas of overlap between safety and security. To what extent could reputational risk, liability protections, insurance and nuclear project financing be used to marshal scarce resources and motivate voluntary implementation of additional security measures based on standards?

 

House Panel takes up Low-level Nuke Waste – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at low-level radioactive waste disposal issues.  DOE’s Mark Whitney and NRC’s Michael Weber will testify, along with Organization of Agreement States Director Jennifer Opila, Leigh Ing, of the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission and Aiken, SC Councilmember Chuck Smith.

 

Marshall Islands Minister to Discuss Climate – The American Security Project (ASP) will host a forum Wednesday at noon with Tony de Brum, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. He will discuss the importance of the upcoming COP in Paris and how effective climate diplomacy can still prevent the worst impacts of climate change.  At the event, ASP will formally launch a new Perspective Paper – “Climate Diplomacy and American Leadership.”

 

Pew Forum to Look at Industrial EE – The Pew Charitable Trusts, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Heat is Power Association, and the CHP Association will host a forum Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. on the impact of the Power Efficiency and Resiliency (POWER) Act on the deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP) systems. CHP and WHP, which capture waste heat to produce electricity and/or heat or cool buildings, are distributed generation technologies that help achieve national economic, environmental, and energy goals.   A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Initiative, Distributed Generation: Cleaner, Cheaper, Stronger – Industrial Efficiency in the Changing Utility Landscape details how an array of technological, competitive, and market forces are changing how the U.S. generates power and the ways that Americans interact with the electric grid. As part of their research, Pew commissioned ICF International Inc. to analyze the POWER Act’s impact on future market deployment of CHP and WHP, key distributed technologies used in industrial, institutional or manufacturing facilities. The results of this study will be presented at this event.  Speakers for this event include NY Rep. Tom Reed, among others.

 

CSIS to Talk Nigeria Oil, Release Report – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at Nigeria’s Oil issues and a discussion on what the priorities for improving governance and addressing corruption in the sector should be, perspectives on early moves by the Buhari government, and an assessment of the prospects for changes in the country’s national oil company.  Aaron Sayne and Alexandra Gillies, co-authors (with Christina Katsouris) of the recently released report, Inside NNPC Oil Sales: A Case for Reform in Nigeria, will examine the major technical and political obstacles in the way of meaningful sector reform in Africa’s leading oil producer.

 

BPC to Host CEO Forum on Sustainable Food, Climate – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will launches a new CEO Council on Sustainability and Innovation on Thursday and will hold a panel at 2:00 p.m. to hear leading food and agriculture CEOs discuss the rationale behind their innovative approaches to a achieving a sustainable future.  Companies all along the food supply chain are on the front lines of addressing the challenges associated with a changing climate, a growing population and other threats to a stable food supply. Many companies are already dealing with the impacts of weather variability and supply chain disruptions, while also tackling higher and more volatile costs and an increasingly global customer base.  Speakers will include Land O’ Lakes CEO Chris Policinski, Kellogg CEO John Bryant and Elanco President Jeff Simmons.

 

Forum Looks at Climate, Reinsurance – Johns Hopkins University will host a forum on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. that will look at confronting climate change.  This presentation will show how the techniques developed in the re/insurance sector can illuminate pathways for climate resilience in the context of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

 

GW Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation, Displacement – Thursday at 6:00 p.m., the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs featuring Dr. Andrea Simonelli. Ahead of the upcoming Climate Negotiations in Paris (CoP21) this December, Simonelli will discuss the global implications of climate change for displacement and refugees, as well as the role of international organizations and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCC).  Simonelli will also discuss her newly released book Governing Climate Change Induced Migration: IGO Expansion and Global Policy Implications, which evaluates climate displacement from a political science perspective. This presentation will delve into the potential expansion and the structural constraints faced by intergovernmental organizations to tackle climate induced migration and displacement. Join us for an in-depth evaluation of how this urgent global issue relates to the current climate governance gap, including human and traditional security concerns.

 

FERC’s Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s Women in Leadership (WIL) will host an event Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club featuring FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable, who will share her insights and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the energy sector.

 

 

Cato to Hold UN Climate Conference Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a day-long forum on Friday in its Hayek Auditorium to hear distinguished climate scientists and legal experts assess the issues sure to drive the debate before, during, and after the Paris UN Climate meeting.  Speakers will include John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on a panel about science.  MIT professor and prominent climate skeptic Richard Lindzen will be the luncheon speaker.  In the afternoon, there will be a legal panel featuring Peter Glaser and Andrew Grossman and a policy panel that will include Harlan Watson, Former Chief Climate Negotiator in the George W. Bush administration and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.

 

Nye to Headline NG Climate Forum – On Friday at 7:30 p.m., National Geographic will host Bill Nye for a lively discussion on the global effects of climate change.   The event will feature clips from the National Geographic Channel’s new Explorer episode on climate change, as well as a lively discussion with Bill Nye, the host of the episode, and Brooke Runnette, president of National Geographic Studios. Dennis Dimick, executive editor at National Geographic magazine, will introduce the evening.

 

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Forum to Feature Cardinal Discussing Pope Encyclical – Next Monday at 4:00 p.m., Georgetown University Law Center will host the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life for a Public Dialogue on Pope Francis’ Environmental Encyclical: Protecting the Planet and the Poor, a conversation with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez.  Cardinal Rodriguez is Chair of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, the first Cardinal from Honduras, and leads the Church’s efforts to protect the planet and the poor. The conversation will be moderated by John Carr, Director of the Initiative. Faculty from Georgetown Law Center will respond including Edith Brown Weiss, Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law; and John Podesta, Distinguished Visitor from Practice and former Counselor to President Barack Obama on climate change and energy policy.

 

Energy Summit Set for Houston – The Energy Summit Series which will take place next Sunday to Tuesday at the JW Marriott Houston. The event will be co-located Transmission & Distribution and Distribution Technology & Innovation Summits.

 

Forum Looks Nat’l Labs, Argonne – Next Monday, the GWU Center for International Science and Technology Policy will hold a discussion led by Dr. Keith S. Bradley. Dr. Bradley is the Director of National & Global Security Programs at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). He is also currently serving as the Director of the Global Security Sciences Division. Dr. Bradley has over 30 years of experience in national security and advanced nuclear energy research and development. Bradley works with scientists, engineers, and managers across the laboratory to formulate and execute a strategic future in national and global security programs. Most of Bradley’s career has focused on national nuclear security, with particular emphasis on nuclear capabilities and threats.  Previously he worked at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, studying inertial confinement fusion, nuclear weapons physics and design, technology development for nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism and research to advance and protect civilian nuclear fuel cycles. Prior to his current responsibilities, Dr. Bradley served as the National Technical Director of the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling & Simulation Program for the DOE office of Nuclear Energy.

Company to Demonstrate Green Thermal Tech – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m. in Rayburn’s Gold Room Brillouin Energy Corp will hold a demonstration for policymakers of breakthrough thermal energy technology from.  Brillouin is a clean-technology company located in Berkeley, CA, which is developing, in collaboration with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, CA, an ultra-clean, low-cost, renewable energy technology that is capable of producing commercially useful amounts of thermal energy.  The Brillouin technology is based on low energy nuclear reactions (LENR). The result is ultra-clean, low-cost, and sustainable renewable energy that doesn’t rely on any type of fossil fuel, chemical, or nuclear fuel. This process produces zero emissions and solid wastes which pollute the environment.

 

Forum to Look at Global Energy Trends – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion next Monday at 9:30 a.m. looking at emerging market economic and energy trends and their implications for the near and longer term global energy outlook with Joyce Chang, Managing Director and Global Head of Research at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Catherine Wolfram, Faculty Director at the Energy Institute at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

 

UN Official to Speak at CSM Event – On Tuesday morning, November 3rd, the Christian Science Monitor for a conversation with Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC , the official charged with bringing 195 nations together to agree on a global climate plan at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.  The theme of the talk will be the state of global energy and climate heading into the Paris climate talks. Where do we stand with less than a month until diplomats meet in Paris to finalize an international climate agreement? Executive Secretary Figueres will provide an update on the negotiations and share her perspectives on what needs to happen during and after the summit in early December.

 

Forum to Look at Customers, Cities – The Energy Times is hosting an Empowering Customers & Cities Forum on November 4–6th in Chicago.  Energy customers are demanding more reliable service and sustainable solutions to deliver on their ever-increasing demand for power. At the same time, deregulation and legislative policy is forcing utilities and energy providers to rethink their business models. Now, more than ever, collaboration is required around the future of energy delivery and consumption.

 

Sen. Lee Headline Climate Preview Forum – On Wednesday, November 4th at 2:30 p.m., the Heritage Foundation will hold a forum  on the upcoming Paris climate negotiations. Senator Mike Lee provides his views on the President’s plan followed by a panel of leading experts who will address what will happen in Paris later this year and what Congress can do about it. Other speakers include the US Chamber’s Steve Eule and conservative FOIA gadfly Chris Horner,

 

Fall Wind Symposium Set – AWEA is hosting its annual Fall Symposium in Albuquerque, NM on November 5th at the Tamaya Resort.  The event will feature a community engagement seminar among the many other panels.

 

Women, Money, Power Summit Set for Press Club – On November 5th, the Feminist Majority is hosting its annual Women, Money, Power Summit in DC at the National Press Club at noon.  Speakers will include Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Louise Slaughter and Donna Edwards, among others.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Issues – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on Thursday, November 5th, looking at the immediate impacts of climate change on US economic and national security. As the COP21 talks in Paris approach, the attention of the international community is fixated more than ever on climate. Still, much of today’s climate discourse focuses on the long-term impacts rather than the immediate ramifications of climate change. This panel of climate experts seeks to highlight the urgency of these issues from the perspective of both the public and the private sector. Joining us for this session are Judge Alice Hill, Senior Director for Resilience Policy at the National Security Council, The Hon. Sherri Goodman, President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and Alex Kaplan, Vice President of Global Partnerships at Swiss Re.

 

REFF West to Focus on Key Renewable Financing Issues – The 8th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-West) 2015 will be held at the Four Seasons in San Francisco, CA on November 5th and 6th.  With a focus on renewable energy development in the Western U.S., REFF-West will highlight financing trends in renewable power, energy storage, system integration, and transportation; review important developments in Western power market expansion and in the role of the emerging corporate customer market segment; and discuss renewable energy’s role in smarter resource use and response to the Western water crisis.

 

IPAA Hosts 86th Annual Meeting in New Orleans – On November 8-10th, the Independent Petroleum Association of America will host its 86th annual meeting at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, La. Speakers will include The Honorable Edward Djerejian, Alex Epstein, David Wasserman with The Cook Political Report, and John England, among others.

 

CSIS Global Forum Set – CSIS’s International Security Program will hold its flagship annual Global Security Forum 2015 on Monday, November 16th.

 

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th to December 11th

Energy Update: Week of September 28

Friends,

 

Following last week’s  craziness with the Pope’s visit to D.C. and the autumnal equinox, we have officially made it to fall and there is Something in the Air. Not to mention, wasn’t last night’s super lunar eclipse, a rare celestial event that last occurred in 1982 and will next occur in 2033, exciting?

 

Fall means the baseball season is wrapping up this week, and I have to commend the Cubs for making the playoffs in hopes of ending the longest active championship drought in sports.   While they won’t win their division, they will play either the Cards or Pirates in the first round.  The Mets surprised everyone with great pitching and timely hitting to outdistance the disappointing Nationals (who appear to be fighting themselves).  One Dodger win this week against the Giants clinches the NL West.  In the AL, the Blue Jays and the Royals are locked while the Rangers are nearly clinched in the West.  The Yankees seem like a lock for one wildcard while the surprising Astros and the Angels are battling for the last spot.  By the way, the NHL season starts next Wednesday (more on that next week).

 

After last week’s papal slow down (literally and figuratively), the action picks back up in Washington this week.   Perhaps the most interesting event will be a BPC forum on Thursday featuring Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, who will address energy innovation issues, new EPA rules and the AGL Merger. Other events include a Hill Newspaper Methane Forum and an EESI forum with state energy officials on the GHG rules, as well as the annual AWEA offshore wind conference in Baltimore taking place tomorrow and Wednesday. Wednesday also features a forum with the Lithuanian Minister of Energy and  Thursday has a POLITICO Energy forum featuring FERC’s Tony Clark, ANGA’s Marty Durbin, Senator John Hoeven and many more.

 

On the Hill, Senate Environment has a full plate with EPA’s Janet McCabe for an air hearing tomorrow morning and two Western governors and FWS Director Ashe in the afternoon to discuss ESA issues, as well as a Wednesday hearing on the EPA’s Waters rule with Army Corps.  Also Tuesday, Senate Commerce hits its second pipeline safety hearing featuring NTSB, AGA and INGAA. House Resources hosts four Western Governors on Wednesday regarding energy development and the sage grouse.   House Energy marks up its energy bill on Wednesday and Rules will get a look at crude exports legislation.  Finally, on Thursday, Senate Banking marks up the exports legislation while a House Energy panel tackles nuclear waste transportation issues.

 

It is also a big week at EPA where on Thursday, EPA is expected to unveil its final rule to set new limits on ground-level ozone to meet  the Court-set October 1st deadline.   NAM, API and the Chamber have been hammering the issues while enviro groups are demanding lower standards.  EPA also has two other court-ordered Wednesday deadlines to meet on emissions from the nation’s oil refineries and effluent discharges from power plants.   The first proposal would require refiners to cut back on emissions from storage tanks, flares and coking units, and requires air quality monitoring at facility fence lines to help protect nearby communities. The second proposal regarding effluent limitations guidelines (316B Rule for power plants) would require controls on all power plant emissions of wastewater.  Obviously, we have great resources to help on each of these.

 

Today, EPA is announcing revisions to its worker protection standard to protect the nation’s two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure. Each year, thousands of potentially preventable pesticide exposure incidents are reported that lead to sick days, lost wages, and medical bills. The changes being announced today can reduce the risk of injury or illness resulting from contact with pesticides on farms and in forests, nurseries and greenhouses.  Our friend Scott Faber of EWG can be helpful on the topic.

 

Finally, next week is the annual Society of Environmental Journalist (SEJ) conference, being held this year in Norman, Oklahoma.  It is a great event that has outstanding panels on environment and energy topics.  With Oklahoma as the locale, natural gas, wind, infrastructure and tornadoes/weather are central themes.  Bracewell’s PRG will also hold its signature annual reception for the conference on Thursday, where each year for the last 14 years, more than 400 conference attendees gather for food, drinks, and the opportunity to network. We still have sponsorship available if you want to be a part of this great opportunity.

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

China Makes Climate Pledges During State Visit – Rather than talk about trade or cyber piracy, Chinese leaders announced that they are launching a national cap-and-trade system by 2017, prioritizing renewable energy on its grid and making a “substantial” financial contribution to the fight against climate change.  My colleague Scott Segal said an undefined financial commitment and vague statements about a carbon market are no substitute for actual commitments to reduce carbon emissions.  To date, we haven’t seen that kind of commitment.

 

China Climate Background – Some additional items to keep in mind when considering China’s Commitments:

 

  • The previously discussed target for 2030 is misleading and simply amounts to no more than “business as usual.” It fails to move beyond current gains or to set an ambitious target and it does not address non-carbon greenhouse gas emissions. Put simply, China is not doing its “fair share” or substantively contributing to averting  ‘climate change’ beyond 2° C  See more on this (here).

 

  • Almost all of the actions China has proposed are already being implemented and the political will for future action appears almost non-existent.

 

  • The tepid climate numerical commitment simply results in free-riding, with China reaping the ‘benefits,’ yet avoiding the onerous costs imposed by a stronger commitment. China’s weak rules may cause U.S. businesses to shift overseas, diminishing the overall competitiveness and vitality of the U.S. economy. This shift also subjects these businesses to looser environmental regulations negating the supposed environmental benefits.

 

  • China’s statistical system does not reflect environmental and market realities warranting strong skepticism. In fact, the Chinese Statistical Bureau had to revise upwards China’s energy consumption upwards by a whopping 15%, resulting in an extra Gt of C02 emissions (see here).

 

  • Even if China’s intentions are noble, its actual pledge drastically underestimates many substantial logistical barriers. For example, the government in Beijing cannot compel Chinese localities to act. In fact, local officials often turn a blind eye to entities that shirk regulations, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of any central mandates. Other barrier abound, including: a gross overestimation of available non-coal natural resources, the substantial role that rapid urbanization and development will play in rising emissions, a failure to recognize transportation as a site of rising emissions, technological deficiencies coupled with poor R&D capabilities and a lack of will to implement regulations (here and here).

 

Countries Can’t Meet Targets…And It Still Won’t Be Enough – New analysis from the research firm Climate Interactive says global temperatures would increase by as much as 6.3° F, or 3.5° C , by the end of the century based on the domestic climate change pledges made by world leaders so far.   The estimate underscores the fact that the upcoming United Nations climate change talks in Paris are unlikely to be able to Bridge the gap between the political and economic realities of dealing with climate change.  And in fact, these are the claims that countries are making, which with history as Our guide will largely be overestimated.  For example, most experts have raised significant concerns as to whether any of the major emitting nations will meet suggested targets.

 

USPS Could Save $2B Replacing Aging Vehicle Fleet – SAFE released an Issue Brief in response to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) plans to replace its fleet of Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) with up to 180,000 “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles” (NGDVs)— developed and manufactured exclusively for the USPS with a service life of 20 years—at a cost of up to $6.3 billion. SAFE’s analysis finds that an alternative approach, using modified, off-the-shelf mass-market vehicles and upgrading the fleet at least once in the next 20-25 years, is not only industry best practice but would save the Service as much as $1.9 billion over the life of the fleet while allowing it to adopt new safety and fuel-saving technologies along the way.  As the operator of one of the world’s largest civilian vehicle fleets, reducing USPS’s oil consumption through greater fuel efficiency would generate national and economic security benefits for the country as a whole, offering the Service insulation from the volatility inherent to the unpredictable global oil market. Making a one-time bulk purchase of NGDVs condemns USPS to a fleet that cannot incorporate new technologies over time, has little flexibility to adjust to changes in market dynamics over the next two decades and retains very little resale value.   SAFE commissioned economic policy research firm Keybridge LLC to conduct this analysis. Keybridge is headed by Dr. Robert Wescott, former Chief Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. In the brief, Keybridge and SAFE find that the total cost of ownership of a fleet composed of a variety of off-the-shelf vehicles would be significantly less than one based around a single, custom-built vehicle manufactured exclusively for USPS.

 

Shell Won’t Drill in Arctic – Shell said today it would be suspending its plan to drill in the Alaskan Arctic “for the foreseeable future,” after not finding enough oil and gas in a test well it drilled over the summer.   They said the high drilling costs in the Chukchi Sea as well as the “challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.”   Funny how that works in the one area the President “caved” according to the enviro community.

 

Marshall Report Connects Climate National Security – The George C. Marshall Institute announced the publication a new study Connecting Climate and National Security.  This study examines the validity of the belief that a changing climate is intrinsically an issue of national security:  “The Obama Administration has proclaimed climate change to be a present and future threat to the security of the United States. Two different National Security Strategies articulate the case for environmental forces creating security challenges domestically in the U.S. and around the world and two successive Quadrennial Defense Reviews show that the U.S. military is shifting its strategic thinking as well as resource allocations to accommodate these new threats. Together, they demonstrate that the institutionalization of environmentally-induced conflict as a U.S. security concern is complete. Anthropogenic climate change, characterized by a rise in global temperature and projected effects thereof, is expected to lead to all sorts of calamities here and abroad.  “But is it true? These government documents and the bevy of think tank reports that echo this theme would leave one with the impression that the answer to this question is “yes.” And, by saying yes, one is left with little choice but to accept changes in strategies, programs, and budgets to respond or reflect those challenges as well as likely agreeing to policies that demand the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in order to respond to the principal root of the problem.”  The present study advances ideas and arguments made by the Marshall Institute in our 2012 report, Climate and National Security: Exploring the Connection, which concluded: “In summary, efforts to link climate change to the deterioration of U.S. national security rely on improbable scenarios, imprecise and speculative methods, and scant empirical support.”

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

UN General Assembly – TODAY

 

AU to Host Forum on Religion, Environment – American University will hold a forum this afternoon featuring panelists from The Washington Post, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and AU faculty to consider the journalistic and media treatment of the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, as a means to better understand the role of religion in public debate and activism on climate change.

 

Forum to Look at Offshore Wind – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing this afternoon in 406 Dirksen examining the role of offshore wind domestically and internationally. The first U.S. offshore wind project is expected to come online in summer 2016 at Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is leading the Block Island project, which will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, enough to run 17,000 homes. U.S. Wind is working on a much larger project off the coast of Maryland, where it plans to have 500 MW of offshore wind operating by 2020. Speakers for this forum are Sens. Tom Carper (DE) and Jack Reed (RI), AWEA’s Fatima Maria Ahmad, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski, Paul Rich of U.S. Wind (Maryland), Dr. Georg Maue of the Embassy of Germany and Tom Simchak, Policy Advisor at the British Embassy.

 

AWEA to Host Annual Offshore Wind Conference in Baltimore – Speaking of offshore wind, AWEA holds its annual offshore wind event in Baltimore tomorrow and Wednesday.

 

The Hill to Host Methane ForumThe Hill will host a forum tomorrow morning at the Newseum to consider how policymakers and industry can come together to effectively regulate methane emissions. What steps can industry take to innovate and lead on adopting existing technologies and practices to reduce emissions? With methane leaks in the oil and gas system costing industry $1.8 billion per year in lost revenues, how can new regulations be implemented in a cost effective way that reduces both climate impacts and domestic energy waste? And what impact might implementing these regulations have on investors and the larger American economy?  Featured speakers include Brent Lammert of FLIR, Brian Rice of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, Martha Rudolph of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.  Our friends Tim Cama and Devin Henry will moderate.

 

Clean Power Conference Set – The Clean Power for All National Forum will be held tomorrow morning at the National Press Club and will bring together prominent figures from the business and political worlds. Attendees will hear from experts on how to advance the Clean Power Plan on a national level. Further focus is being placed on work, wealth and health opportunities possible through the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

 

Senate Enviro to Host McCabe on Air Act, Ashe, Govs on ESA – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearings tomorrow on the economy-wide implications of President Obama’s air agenda and ESA policies. The hearing at 9:30 a.m. will feature EPA air administrator Janet McCabe., while The 2:00 p.m. afternoon Hearing will focus on ESA issues and have Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Western Governors’ Association Chairman Matt Mead (R-Wyo.) and Western Governors’ Association Vice Chairman Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) testifying.

 

EU Enviro Commissioner to Address Energy Future – The World Resources Institute (WRI), EPA and the European Environment Agency (EEA) will host a forum tomorrow on sustainable energy future on the occasion of the first official visit to Washington of European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.

 

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy in China – The Atlantic Council is holding a panel discussion tomorrow on the future of nuclear energy in China. The panel includes nuclear energy experts from government, academia, and the private sector, who each bring unique perspectives on Chinese energy issues. Speakers will include DOE’s Jon Elkind, NuScale CEO John Hopkins, former Harvard Business School professor Joe Lassiter and Czech Ambassador Václav Bartuška.

 

Diesel Tech Forum Hosts Grid Readiness Webinar – As part of National Preparedness Month, the Diesel Technology Forum will host a free webinar tomorrow at Noon to provide an update on state plans to keep the lights on during severe weather events. Mobile and stationary diesel generators have long provided emergency backup power to critical facilities. Many states susceptible to severe weather are now requiring or encouraging retail fuel locations to install emergency backup power capabilities to keep motorists along evacuation routes and also allow first responders to refuel in the event of a widespread power outage.  Mike Jones, a senior administrator with the Maryland Energy Administration will speak about the state’s program to provide incentives for retail fuel locations to either install the necessary switchgear to accept a mobile generator or install a stationary generator through the Maryland Energy Resiliency Grant Program.  Results of the program and lessons learned in its implementation will be discussed as the state expanded eligibility to emergency shelters including firehouses.  In addition, Jeff Pillon of the National Association of State Energy Officials will also provide an overview on an array of state energy assurance strategies across the country, including incentives and other innovative approaches to help ensure public health and safety in times of natural disaster or loss of electrical grid power.

Forum to Look at China, Clean Cities – The Woodrow Wilson Center will host a forum tomorrow focused on China’s power sector and a move to cleaner cities.  At the US-China Climate Smart/Low Carbon City Summit held September last week in Los Angeles, 11 Chinese cities and 3 provinces committed to taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and reach “peak coal” earlier than China’s national 2030 target. Continued expansion of renewables, gas, nuclear power and energy efficient buildings in China’s cities will depend heavily on efforts to decarbonize the country’s power grid. Speakers at this meeting will discuss emerging reforms and clean energy investments (including nuclear power) investments at both national and municipal levels to decrease coal-fired electricity.

 

Forum to Look at Japan Plutonium Issues – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow on Japan’s plans to start producing plutonium—intended for use in its nuclear energy reactors. However, in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011, all but one of Japan’s reactors still remain offline, and the process to restart the others will be long, slow, and controversial. As a result, it is likely that plutonium production will soon exceed demand, causing a risky and potentially destabilizing plutonium build-up in Japan.  Carnegie’s James Acton will launch his new report, Wagging the Plutonium Dog, and explore why Japan finds itself in this predicament and what can be done.

 

EESI Forum to Look at States, GHG Regs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing tomorrow in 334 Cannon  discussing how states are planning to comply with the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Power Plan represents the first time the United States has placed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, currently the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution. Now that the final version has been released, what are the best compliance strategies for states to meet the emission reduction goals, and what kind of assistance will EPA be able to provide?  Speakers for this forum are EPA’s Joe Goffman, NACAA’s Bill Becker, NARUC’s Charles Gray and NASEO’s David Terry.

 

Senate Commerce to Look at Pipeline Safety – A Senate Commerce panel  is holding its second hearing on pipeline safety tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to look at issues related to pipeline safety.  The first field hearing was held in Billings, Montana featuring PHMSA head Marie Therese Dominguez earlier this month, where the focus was the summer oil spill in the Yellowstone River.  Witnesses with include GAO’s Susan Fleming, NTSB’s Chris Hart, INGAA’s Don Santa and WGL’s Terry McCallister on behalf of the American Gas Association.

 

Senate Panel Looks at WOTUS – The Senate Environment’s Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water will hold a hearing Wednesday delving into the corps’ “participation” in the process around the new Waters of the U.S. regulation.

 

Western Governors to Testify at House Resources – The House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday looking at state authority on energy issues.   Four Western governors — Steve Bullock (D) of Montana, Dennis Daugaard (R) of South Dakota, Gary Herbert (R) of Utah and Matt Mead (R) of Wyoming — are scheduled to testify.

 

WCEE Series Continues NatGas Drilling – On Wednesday, the Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment will continue its Lunch & Learn series to explore different perspectives of hydraulic fracturing. The dialogue on our energy future is tied to the state of hydraulic fracturing and the event is the second in that series.  The event will feature Energy in Depth’s Katie Brown and William Goodfellow of BCES.  Goodfellow is a Board-Certified Environmental Scientist with more than 35 years of experience in environmental toxicology and causal effect assessments.

 

Forum to Feature Lithuania Energy Minister – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies will host the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, Rokas Masiulis.  Masiulis will deliver remarks regarding Lithuania’s current efforts to help address energy security issues throughout Europe.

 

Forum to Look at Algae, Climate – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will host a discussion of Algae and its impacts on climate change.  The event will feature Brian Walsh, who will discuss his new paper, New Feed Sources Key to Ambitious Climate Targets, which finds replacing microalgae as animal feed could free up significant land currently used for pasture and feed crops, while meeting 50 percent of our annual energy needs and potentially reducing global atmospheric carbon concentrations to preindustrial levels by the end of the century.  After a presentation by Walsh, a panel of experts will discuss the technical realities of the research, land-use and animal feed stock issues and whether algae can really impact global climate change.

 

JHU to Host Latin Energy Forum – The Johns Hopkins University will hold an LASP Samuel Z. Stone Seminar panel event on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. the energy shock in Latin America.  The event will feature Francisco Gonzalez, LASP Senior Associate Professor at JHU SAIS and Alejandro Werner, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund.

 

POLITICO Energy Event Set – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., POLITICO will host an America’s Energy Agenda event which will feature a conversation assessing the market aftermath of Obama’s sweeping climate change rules and energy policies. How does America keep the lights on and remain the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas while aspiring to lead the world in climate action? What is the future for energy infrastructure as pipelines become a target of the modern environmental movement?  Featured speakers include FERC’s Tony Clark, Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), ANGA’s Marty Durbin, Keystone opponent Jane Kleeb, Sierra’s Lena Moffitt and former EPA official Bob Perciasepe, now at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

 

Fanning to Address Innovation at BPC Forum – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Commission  will host a discussion on energy innovation with Tom Fanning, Southern Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.  Fanning will highlight Southern Company’s leadership in shaping America’s energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources: nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency.  He will also discuss Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which develops new products and services to improve the lives of customers and communities, and its recent agreement to acquire natural gas company AGL Resources.

 

House Energy to Look at Nuclear Transportation – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on Thursday on transporting nuclear materials, focusing on design, logistics, and shipment.  There are approximately three million shipments of nuclear material across the United States every year. For example, low-level radioactive waste is shipped to Texas and New Mexico for disposal, research reactor fuel is transported to universities across the country, and spent nuclear fuel from naval vessels is shipped to Idaho for storage. Members will examine current efforts to transport nuclear material, including regulatory requirements and weigh recommendations to the Department of Energy plan for shipment of high-level radioactive waste and commercial spent nuclear fuel.

 

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Clean Tech Leadership Forum Set – Next Monday at 9:30 a.m., the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will host national experts and local leaders to examine the state of the clean tech economy and the road ahead. Sessions will explore best practices in advancing market transformation with public policy and leveraging existing programs to enhance private investment and innovation. Work with peer communities to identify challenges and strategies for supporting your local clean tech economy.

 

AU Forum Looks at Climate Governance – The American University will hold a conference next Monday afternoon looking at climate change governance as Paris approaches.  The conference aims to highlight the role of subnational initiatives, such as the Quebec-California carbon market, in global climate change governance in anticipation of the upcoming UN negotiations in Paris.

 

TIDES Conference to Look at New Energy, Defense Techs – The 9th annual TIDES technology demonstration on October 6th through 9th at the National Defense University.  The TIDES Technology Field Demonstration features low-cost technology solutions across eight key infrastructure areas 1) Water, 2) Power, 3)Shelter, 4) Heating/Cooling, 5) Sanitation, 6) Lighting, 7) Integrated and Combustion Cooking and 8)Information Communication Technology.  This free demonstration is widely attended by the Department of Defense officials, government agencies active in domestic and international disaster response, and in post-conflict, post disaster, and impoverished situations – DHS, FEMA, State Department, Red Cross and National Defense University students from around the world.  A wide array of private, for-profit and non-profit organizations attend each year. The demonstration is outside (rain or shine), independent of the power grid, and communications will be live.  The theme of this year’s demo is “Building Resilience: Preparing for Natural and Man-Made Disasters.”

Sen Energy to Look at SPR – Next Tuesday, October 6th at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine the potential modernization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and related energy security issues.

 

RFF to Look at Arctic Energy/Climate Issues – Resources for The Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on October 7th at 12:30 p.m. in collaboration with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment to focus on Arctic shipping and its impacts.   President Obama’s recent trip to Alaska and the State Department’s GLACIER conference put a spotlight on climate change issues in the Arctic. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar will focus on understanding the science behind increased shipping and the related impacts on marine life, ecosystems, and the communities that depend on them. Speakers will include RFF’s Alan Krupnick, Lawson Brigham of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Stanford’s Jeremy Goldbogen, Nome Mayor Denise Michels and Scott Smith of the US Coast Guard.

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.

 

Hydrogen Fuel Day Set for Oct 8 – In recognition of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technology, industry advocates are celebrating National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on October 8th to help raise awareness of a clean energy technology that is here now. October 8th was chosen as a reference to the of the atomic weight of Hydrogen, 1.008.

 

Holmstead, Others Experts to Discuss GHG Rule at DC Bar Event – On October 14th at 12:30 p.m., the D.C. Bar will hold a forum in its Conference Center looking the EPA’s GHG Rule.  The brown bag was rescheduled due to the Papal visit in September. It is sponsored by the Air Quality Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment and will feature a panel of experts will offer perspectives on the final rule, including state compliance options and the nature and timing of legal challenges.  The panelists will be: David Doniger, Director, Climate & Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, Lisa Heinzerling, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and Jeff Holmstead, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani. All three of our speakers have previously served in high-level posts at EPA and have spent most of their careers shaping carbon pollution policy.

 

Smart Grid Conference Set – On October 14th and 15th, the 2nd Annual National Summit on Smart Grid & Climate Change will bring together policymakers, utilities, technology companies, and a wide variety of environmental and energy stakeholders to address the role of smart grid technologies and practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change.  The Summit will establish an understanding as to how smart grid can be an essential part of any climate action planning, whether in response to government emission restrictions like EPA’s Clean Power Plan or efforts to increase resiliency to prepare for various climate change events and scenarios.  Speakers will include Energy Secretary Moniz, OMB’s Ali Zaidi, Arizona Public Service SVP Jeff Guldner and NREL’s Bryan Hannegan.

 

Newsmaker to Look at Automated Driving – The National Press Club will hold a Newsmaker on October 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the Bloomberg Room to present an analytical look at the reasons for developing an autonomous transportation economy—laying out the status of the technology today, the policies needed to develop autonomous transportation so that we achieve a safer, more convenient, more efficient, and a more affordable mobility system, and how transportation as we know it will be revolutionized over the coming decade.  Executives from Domino’s, GM and security experts are all expected to be part of the panel.

 

GP Bush, Fox to Headline Border Energy Forum – The Border Energy Forum will be held on October 14 – 16th in San Diego, California and will feature Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as its Keynote Speaker.  For more than 20 years, the Border Energy Forum has worked to increase regional development of clean energy projects, promote cross-border energy trade, and advance technologies and innovative solutions for sustainable resource management. Other speakers will include former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

 

BPC to Hold Little Rock GHG Workshop – The Bipartisan Policy Center and Great Plains Institute will hold another one-day workshop on October 19th in Little Rock Arkansas to discuss implementation options for EPA’s GHG rules for power plants in the Midcontinent region.  The workshop will feature a keynote address by Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette D. Honorable.  Other confirmed speakers include WPPI Energy’s Andy Kellen, Scott Weaver of American Electric Power, EDF’s Nicholas Bianco, PJM’s Paul Sotkiewicz, Roxanne Brown of the United Steelworkers and  Nathaniel Baer of the Iowa Environmental Council.   States and stakeholders in the region have been working to evaluate the policy options available to states for inclusion in state plans. In the Midcontinent region, state officials have been active in the Midcontinent States Environmental and Energy Regulators (MSEER) group, with support from experts at the Bipartisan Policy Center and Great Plains Institute. In addition, the Midwestern Power Sector Collaborative, convened by the Great Plains Institute, brings a subset of states and stakeholders together to explore and engage on these policy issues.  This workshop will gather states, stakeholders, and experts, including those participating in MSEER and the Power Sector Collaborative, to explore policy pathways for achieving compliance under the final Clean Power Plan as well as opportunities and challenges for multi-state collaboration.

 

Rogers, Goffman Headline New Energy Summit – The 2015 New Energy Summit will be held on October 19th and 20th looking at the growth of the renewable energy marketplace.  The agenda includes keynote guests, presentations and thought-provoking, informative discussions about the latest trends in deal origination and finance, risk evaluation, regulatory developments and common practices.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and EPA’s Joe Goffman.

 

Cato to Hold UN Climate Conference Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a day-long forum on October 30th in its Hayek Auditorium to hear distinguished climate scientists and legal experts assess the issues sure to drive the debate before, during, and after the Paris UN Climate meeting.  Speakers will include John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on a panel about science.  MIT professor and prominent climate skeptic Richard Lindzen will be the luncheon speaker.  In the afternoon, there will be a legal panel featuring Peter Glaser and Andrew Grossman and a policy panel that will include Harlan Watson, Former Chief Climate Negotiator in the George W. Bush administration and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.

Energy Update: Week of August 3

Friends,

 

Busy weekends always seem to precede the August recess and the White House leaking its Climate rule for Sunday morning only made us work more.  It is hard to believe all the rhetoric.  I just heard Josh Earnest on MSNBC this morning blindly repeating the same talking points heard throughout the day yesterday (unbelievably even more ineffectively).  Anyway, it is part of an orchestrated, all-out campaign over the next few months that will attempt to run up to UN talks in Paris…

 

Following the just concluded White House Event, there are a bunch of react calls.  While I wouldn’t advise tuning into many of them, one I would listen in on is the rural co-ops.  NRECA has a few CEOs from Kansas, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas weighing in at 3:30 and they (along with a good portion of rural America) is unfortunately hit hard by the rule.  You can get the call-in number here.

 

Finally, while there is little going on here after today, the 27th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference goes on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.

 

As you know, we were cranking starting Friday and throughout the weekend.  I am sending a full report on the EPA Rule is below.  We can help you with sources, background and reactions.  Who you gonna call????

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

THE BIG NEWS: GHG Rule Out

 

EPA Rule Out – EPA rolled out its climate rule on Sunday will set the nation’s first-ever limits on power-plant carbon emissions, mandating ambitious and controversial cuts that exceed the targets laid out in a proposal released last year.

 

President Going All Out – President Obama made a personal plea for greenhouse gas emissions rule over the weekend.  “Climate change is not a problem for another generation — not anymore,” he said in a video that the White House posted to its Facebook page.

 

Changes Anyone – The major changes include cutting power plant carbon emissions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, an increase from the draft proposal.  Other changes include:

  • Give states two extra years to submit plans and start making cuts.
  • Ease interim goals into a “glide path.”
  • Contain grid reliability assurance mechanisms.
  • Provide states with a model plan and with “trade-ready” elements for swapping compliance credits.
  • Adopt a uniform emissions rate and assign states’ goals based on their energy mixes.
  • Even out disparate state targets.
  • Incentivize early action to build renewable energy and implement user-side energy efficiency programs in low-income communities.
  • Aim to shift toward renewables rather than encourage an early surge toward natural gas-fired electricity.
  • No longer count under-construction nuclear plants in state targets but will give states credit for them and for increases in existing nuclear generation.
  • Require carbon capture and storage for new plants but at a lower rate than previously proposed.

 

White House Releases Fact Sheets – The EPA posted “fact sheets” on its carbon rule for power plants.

The documents posted to EPA’s website today include an overview of the plan, a “by-the-numbers” breakdown, a summary of “benefits to the power sector”, a legal justification, a description of the new clean energy incentive program, and details on local effects.

The Industry Side of the Details – My colleague Scott Segal led a substance-filled, quick reaction on Sunday.  He says the assumptions behind the actual required reductions in the final rule have gotten worse, not better.  They have made a proposed plan which strains the power system even more restrictive, calling for reliable and cost effective energy sources to be replaced by intermittent, costly sources largely incapable of meeting base load power needs in the US.  While the additional time to prepare plans and begin compliance are welcome – and a tacit acknowledgment of how unreasonable the original timelines were – the resulting federal mandate is dangerous.  It still presents significant intrusions into state affairs, endangering consumers, manufacturers, hospitals, schools, and the very reliability of the system.

 

What About General Increase in Stringency –  EPA has dropped out one of the building blocks, and made adjustment to others to reflect input.  And yet overall stringency is claimed to increase.  This seems like regulatory sleight of hand, designed more to impress friends at the Paris conference than to react in good faith to what’s in the actual rulemaking record.  The Supreme Court recently told EPA that it would be irrational for the Agency to regulate before considering cost.  Here, EPA has a final rule with less justification for greater stringency but without the kind of robust analysis the Supreme Court clearly desires.

 

Extended Compliance Timelines – Segal  and my colleague Jeff Holmstead have frequently criticized the proposed rule as having highly unrealistic timelines for compliance.  And while the final rule reflects some concession from EPA on this point, it should be noted that the final rule remains a very difficult task over a very compressed time period.  Further, the fact that the draft compliance plans from the states remain due with 12 months of finalizing the rule creates an initial unnecessary chokepoint for the rule that ensures immediate pain from implementing the rule.  Segal says more time is a good thing as over the last year, EPA clearly has come to realize that the timelines in their original proposal just weren’t feasible. Even states and companies that were generally supportive of the proposal were telling EPA that states needed more time to develop their plans, and that very few states could actually meet their interim targets by 2020. As a result, EPA has now pushed back the dates by one or two years. However, EPA’s deadlines are still unrealistic. As just one example of why, after 49 states submit their plans in 2018, EPA must analyze those plans in writing and then issue a proposal for each state plan to explain why EPA believes the plan should be approved, in whole or in part, or disapproved. After taking public comment, EPA must then issue a final rule that responds to all the public comments it received and explains why it is either approving or disapproving 49 state plants. Under EPA’s schedule, this is supposed to occur within just one year. But years of experience with other, much simpler types of state plans suggests that this process will take several years at least.  In any event, EPA has still not made the case of any intrusive form of interim obligation. Other Clean Air rules do not have this feature, and EPA has not justified this additional chokepoint in the final rule.

 

Addition of “Safety Valve” Mechanism to Address Reliability Concerns – While a safety valve designed to address reliability crises is necessary, no safety valve can fix a poorly-crafted rule that harms reliability as it is implemented. That’s like relying on an emergency brake after an accident is already under way. You need to prevent the accident in the first instance. And as the D.C. Circuit has ruled, if emergency authority alone fixed rules then “no rule, no matter how irrational, could be struck down, provided only that a waiver provision was attached. A rule with no rational basis…cannot be saved in this fashion.”

 

New Incentives For Utilities to Construct Renewable-Energy Projects In Poorer Neighborhoods – While this provision may be well intentioned, it is based on several flawed assumptions.  First, major renewable projects of the sort necessary to augment base load power are difficult to undertake in any urban environment.  Second, the reliable base load power plants already serving these neighborhoods are subject to permit and regulatory requirements already fully protective of human health and the environment.  Last, the effects of the rule taken as a whole are likely to particular disadvantage those living in poverty.

 

Key Legal Questions – Segal also addressed several legal questions:

  • EPA doesn’t have authority under Section 111(d), whether it’s no ambiguity over the language of the 1990 CAA amendments, or the issue of power plants already being regulated under Section 112. Does the final version of the rule invite additional, significant legal questions, or will the crux of litigation remain EPA’s authority under the CAA? Answer:  The final rule does very little to change the central thrust of the legal objections.  The weakest part of the EPA proposal is that the Agency is attempting to use the Clean Air Act to regulate far afield from the actual facilities that are the target of the rule.  In the parlance of the rule, that’s called going beyond the fence line.  By dropping consumer energy efficiency as a basis for establishing the rule, the EPA has removed one part of the rule that lies beyond the fence line.  But, changing the dispatch of natural gas and insisting on renewables investments really lie just as far outside the fence line.  These two other building blocks remain critical to the rule, but are completely unprecedented and outside the scope of Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.  As for the question of whether section 112 regulation preempts the use of section 111, that matter is still quite active.  The states and some members of the regulated community even asked for the panel to reconsider its views in the Murray litigation just before EPA made clear its intention to finalize the rule.  So that matter is serious, and is not changed in any way by the final rule or by the Supreme Court’s dim view of the failure to consider cost in the context of the MATS rule.

 

  • CCS Legal Issues –  EPA said yesterday that its rule for new power plants – the 111(b) rule – will still utilize carbon capture and sequestration as a basis for regulation, but at a reduced capture rate.  Since there is no evidence of established commercial viability for this technology, the 111(b) provisions of the rule are still on weak legal grounds.  And it is an established feature of the Clean Air Act that if the approach to 111(b) fails to pass legal muster, EPA cannot proceed to regulate existing sources under Section 111(d) of the rule.   Until we review all the details of the final rule, it will be hard to tell if it raises new legal issues.  But it is already clear that it doesn’t fix any of the principal legal problems present in the proposed rules.
  • Legal Vulnerability – Segal also addressed whether the final version of the rule make it more vulnerable to such legal challenges, less vulnerable, or pretty much equally vulnerable to the proposed version?   Answer:  The final rule may well be more vulnerable, but careful analysis will need to provide those answers.  For example, the final rule may have mandated new provisions or relied on new methodologies that were not really part of the record when public comments were filed.  If those changes are too great, the rule could have an additional problem under administrative law.  Aside from that new issue, the biggest problems with the final rule are likely missed opportunities to cure the legal problems obvious in the proposed rule.

 

PBEF Members Reacts – The Partnership for A Better Energy Future expressed disappointment over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The rule is one of the most expensive and far-reaching rules in its history, designed to regulate carbon emissions from the electric power sector.  The rule represents an unprecedented intrusion into affairs of the states that will increase costs for small businesses, manufacturers, and households, threatens electric reliability and offers no significant environmental benefit remotely commensurate with the costs. PBEF is a coalition of more than 170 organizations.  PBEF members offered the following Comments regarding the EPA rule:

 

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons: “This regulation will be exceptionally difficult for manufacturers to meet and will increase energy prices and threaten electric reliability. Manufacturers are committed to being responsible stewards of our environment, leading the way in that effort, and we will keep all options on the table, including litigation, to protect manufacturers’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

Mike Duncan, President and CEO of American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) : “Even in the face of damning analyses and scathing opposition from across the country, EPA’s final carbon rule reveals what we’ve said for months – this agency is pursuing an illegal plan that will drive up electricity costs and put people out of work,” said “This rule fails across the board, but most troubling is that it fails the millions of families and businesses who rely on affordable electricity to help them keep food on the table and the lights on.”

Hal Quinn, CEO of the National Mining Association“The Nation’s governors now have a clear choice to make about their course: accept this flawed plan and put their citizens at risk, or reject it and challenge EPA’s authority and competence to manage their state’s energy economy from Washington. It’s change without a difference.” 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue: “As dozens of states, the Chamber, and numerous other stakeholders have discussed, the EPA’s effort to shut down existing power plants and thus drive up energy prices for businesses and consumers alike will inflict significant damage to our entire economy and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. It is a bad deal for America, and we will pursue all available options, including litigation if necessary, to block EPA’s regulatory power grab from taking effect.”

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jo Ann Emerson: “Any increase in the cost of electricity most dramatically impacts those who can least afford it, and the fallout from the EPA’s rule will cascade across the nation for years to come.”

Holmstead Reaction –  Former EPA Air office Head Jeff Holmstead also had some opinions on the rule.  Holmstead said with the change in compliance deadlines, the final rule is less unreasonable than the proposal, but it doesn’t fix the big legal problems.  Holmstead: “EPA just doesn’t have authority under the Clean Air Act to require states to restructure their whole electricity systems. This goes way beyond what EPA is authorized to do under the Clean Air Act.  This approach that goes way beyond anything that Congress ever intended. I don’t think it will pass muster in court.”  Holmstead also said it is striking that EPA gets essentially the same emission reduction even though it has abandoned one of its original building blocks.  It looks like building blocks are malleable enough to get the foreordained result.    Holmstead also said one of the main things motivating this rule is that the Administration wants to show leadership on the international stage.  “They want to go to Paris in December and tell the international community about this historic accomplishment. So maybe it doesn’t matter so much if the courts strike down the rule in a year or two.  But it will be embarrassing for the Administration if the courts decide to stay the rule before the Paris Conference.”

 

Gas Guys Are Mad – ANGA and other natural gas interests are upset with the White House’s change to pair back natural gas.  ANGA’s Marty Durbin said “the White House is ignoring market realities and discounting the ability of natural gas to achieve the objective of emissions reductions more quickly and reliably while powering growth and helping consumers.  With the reported shift in the plan, we believe the White House is perpetuating the false choice between renewables and natural gas.

CIBO Concerned about Power Plan Rule – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners also raised concerns about the CPP.  President Bob Bessette said the rule is nothing less than a power-grab over the Nation’s energy sector and—by extension—the U.S. economy.  “Allowing EPA to go well beyond the fence-line of the power sector and tell states how to dispatch power to their customers threatens one of the most important foundations of economic growth—access to safe, cost-effective and reliable energy.  If fully implemented, this plan would drive up the cost of power for the industrial and manufacturing sectors—the lifeblood of the U.S. economy—and impact the ability of our members to compete in a globalized economy.”

 

White House Hold East Room Event – This afternoon at 2:15 pm, the White House and President Obama hosted advocates and other supporters to unveil final rules for existing, new and modified power plants.  Lots of action on Twitter there…

 

Follow up events for Reid, Alaska – President Obama later this month is slated to keynote retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s clean energy summit.  Obama will speak at the 8th annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on August 24th at the Mandalay Bay Resort.  Reid’s summit will also feature Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter as speakers.  At the end of the month, the President is expected to visit Alaska to again focus on Climate Change.

 

Black Chamber Study Hit CPP – The President mentioned that poor, minorities won’t be impacted.  But, the National Black Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Harry Alford has released a new study that warns the Administration’s Clean Power Plan will significantly drive up energy costs and lead to dire consequences for minority communities through lost jobs, lower incomes and higher poverty rates for the 128 million blacks and Hispanics living in America.  Restructuring the grid, which the rule will require, would lead to $565 billion in higher annual electricity costs by 2030 when the regulation will be fully implemented, according to the study. So with blacks and Hispanics spending a larger proportional share of their income on energy versus other demographic groups, the burden of higher costs will fall heaviest on minorities, “knocking minorities down another run on the economic ladder.”  Alford asks lawmakers to resist the proposal and “fight the federal takeover of state authority,” a position that is supported by a growing number of allies from Congress, states, business associations and citizen groups who want to send the proposed power plant carbon rule back to the drawing board.

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

SAFE Announces Energy Prize Winner – Securing America’s Future Energy announced the winners of its 2015 Energy Security Prize at an event at Founders Hall in Charleston, S.C. on CNBC Live.  SAFE awarded a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil. Momentum Dynamics, this year’s grand prize winner, received $125,000, while runners up FreeWire Technologies and Peloton Technology received $35,000 and $15,000 respectively.  Grand prize winner Momentum Dynamics seeks to take DC fast charging for electric vehicles to the next level, pioneering a wireless charging system designed for the workplace and public locations like shopping centers and restaurants. Their unique 25-kilowatt wireless charging pad delivers power via magnetic induction ten times faster than home-based plug-in chargers, overcoming barriers to EV adoption by allowing EVs to charge frequently, quickly, and automatically.  First runner up FreeWire Technologies’ Mobi electric vehicle (EV) charger helps eliminate the “charge rage” facing areas with high EV adoption and insufficient charging capacity.  Second runner up Peloton Technology’s wireless communications system and cloud-based management links sensors and braking between pairs of trucks to provide dramatic aerodynamic fuel savings and increased safety.  Videos showcasing these companies and their technologies can be viewed at www.secureenergy.org

 

DOE, AHRI Reach Agreement on Walk-in Coolers, Freezers Energy Efficiency Rule – AHRI said last week it has reached agreement  with DOE regarding its rule for energy efficiency standards for commercial walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF).   Earlier this year, AHRI argued that DOE had erred in numerous ways in adopting the WICF Rule — including by setting internally inconsistent standards that were unachievable using economically feasible technologies, by performing flawed cost-benefit work, and by failing to properly analyze small-business impacts.  AHRI also noted that it had given DOE the opportunity to fix several of the Department’s errors in a petition for reconsideration.  But DOE maintained that it lacked the power to fix such errors absent a court order.  The settlement includes the following provisions 1) Refrigeration standards for multiplex condensing systems at medium and low temperatures, and for dedicated condensing systems at low temperatures will be vacated. DOE will support the use of a negotiated rulemaking process concerning the vacated standards, with a targeted completion date of January 2016 for this negotiated rulemaking process.  DOE will also align WICF refrigeration enforcement dates by issuing an executive branch policy making clear that it will not enforce the remaining WICF refrigeration standards until January 1, 2020, provided that the anticipated negotiated rulemaking process delivers proposed standards to DOE  by January 22, 2016. DOE will consider and substantively address as part of the negotiated rulemaking process any potential impacts of the standards on installers and smaller manufacturers.  Finally, within six months, DOE will initiate a public process to determine how it will address error corrections in future rulemakings.  DOE has also committed to employ best efforts to finalize that process within one year of the settlement.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Senate Energy Look at Nuclear Issues CANCELLED – Tomorrow Senate Energy Committee hearing to discuss the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and related legislation has been postponed until after August Recess.

 

WCEE to Host Former EPA Fuels Expert – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon combating climate change with cleaner, smarter cars that will feature Margo Oge, former Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at EPA.  Oge served at EPA for 32 years, the last 18 of which she directed the Office of Transportation Air Quality and recently wrote a book: Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars, which envisions a future of clean, intelligent vehicles with lighter frames and alternative power trains, such as plug in electric and fuel cell vehicles that produce zero emissions and average 100+ mpg. Oge will also provide the ultimate insider’s account of the partnership between federal agencies, California and car manufacturers that led to President Obama’s historic 2012 deal targeting greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Alberta Govt, Oil/Gas – On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum on the future of oil and gas development in the Alberta. The New Democratic Party’s stunning election victory in Alberta this spring has added another wrinkle to the already tumultuous story of Alberta’s, and Canada’s, year in energy. This seismic change in Canada’s political landscape could signal drastic changes for energy production in Alberta and the upcoming federal election.  The Canada Institute holds their second Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) Policy Roundtable with David Docherty, PhD, President of Mount Royal College, to discuss the recent trends in Canadian and Alberta politics, their effect on energy producers, and look ahead to the election in the fall.

 

MD Climate Commission to Hold Public Hearing – The Maryland Climate Commission will meet on Thursday in Largo, MD to get public input on Maryland’s Climate Action Plan. This plan, required by Maryland’s 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, contains over 150 programs and policies designed to slash statewide global warming pollution by 25% by 2020. The commission, made up of elected officials, advocates, and heads of state agencies, is charged with reporting on our state’s progress to date and making recommendations about next steps.  The hearing, one of five taking place across the state, is an opportunity to shape the Climate Commission’s final recommendations — which will go to the Governor and the General Assembly before the next legislative session.

 

Texas EnviroSuperconference Set – The 27th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel. This year’s theme is clichés and the conference is fittingly entitled “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread”; each topic has an appropriate cliché assigned to it.   Speakers include, from the federal government, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, EPA Principal Deputy Administrator Larry Starfield, and EPA Region 6 Regional Administrator Ron Curry, and, from the state, Bureau of Economic Geology Director Scott Tinker, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioner Toby Baker, Texas Parks & Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith, and the Governor’s Senior Legislative Advisor, Ashley Morgan, as well as other distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors, including Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune.  Bracewell’s Rich Alonso and Tim Wilkins will also be speaking.

 

CSIS Forum Looks at Russian Gas Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a program to discuss the future of Russian gas exports.  Speakers will include Isabel Gorst, Moscow-based Foreign Correspondent and CSIS expert Ed Chow.

 

August Recess – The House is out, but the Senate is likely to stay to many Wednesday or Thursday of this week. 

 

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Forum to Look at New Nuclear Technology – On Tuesday, August 11th at Noon, eGeneration will host a Luncheon Policy Briefing in B318 Rayburn on the development and commercialization of New Generation Nuclear technologies, including the Liquid Core Molten Salt Reactor,

 

Forum to Look at Grid-Scale Storage – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Thursday, August 13th at 10:00 a.m. on Grid-scale energy storage.  California’s energy strategy is a forcing function for more storage but what about the rest of the country? While ISOs like PJM have instituted competitive frequency regulation procurement, storage is only one of many options that can compete for this service. This presentation will summarize results from independent, competitive assessments focused on life cycle costs and commercial readiness of the various options.

 

GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio.  Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants.  GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for August 18-to-20 at the same convention center.

 

President to Address Reid Clean Energy Summit – The President will be the headliner at the annual Harry Reid Clean Energy Summit in at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on August 24th.  Secretary Moniz will also speak.

 

Moniz to Speak at CU – Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz will present a special guest lecture at the Colorado’s Getches Wilkinson Center on August 31st at 9:00 a.m. in the Wolf Law Building in Boulder.

 

Trauzzi to Address CHP Conference – The Combined Heat and Power Assn (CHP) will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting on September 14-15th at the National Press Club in Washington DC.  The theme of this year’s conference is CHP: Providing Resilience and Security in an Uncertain Energy World. With the changing landscape of energy generation in the U.S. and the strain on an aging electric grid, energy solutions that are not only cost effective and efficient–but most importantly resilient–are needed to secure our energy future. This conference will highlight the ways in which combined heat & power is the best answer for our resilient energy needs while also providing numerous other benefits.

The conference will feature a number of new elements including CHP Association’s inaugural Solution Summit aimed at fostering meaningful discussion among attendees on ways to increase CHP deployment. In addition, there will be a trade show to highlight companies and organizations working in the industry, and a full day conference that will explore the conference theme of resilience.  E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi will be the keynote speaker.

 

Giuliani to Address Shale Insight – The 2015 Shale Insight Conference will be held in Philadelphia on September 16th & 17th Over the past five years, the conference has built a reputation for strong programmatic content, including an impressive speaker roster of nearly 100 industry experts, political figures and concurrent technical and public affairs session panelists who share their expertise.  Attendees at the 2015 conference will hear from featured presenters, including: Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and former mayor of New York City, as well as Robert Bryce, journalist, author and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.

 

Energy Update Week of October 21

Friends,

 

Now that the government shutdown has been resolved (at least until after Christmas), we can return our focus to the business at hand: the new health care law, climate change and most importantly, the World Series.   The Red Sox and Cardinals clash starting Wednesday at Fenway Park in Boston after timely hitting launched them past the solid starting pitching of the Detroit Tigers.  The Cardinals return to the World Series for the 4th time in 10 years after dispatching the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS.  Should be a very good series.

In case you missed it, on the policy issues there are lot of good items shaking out.  While we don’t pay that much attention to the health care law, we do follow the climate issue pretty closely last time I checked.  And last week, the Supreme Court granted a petition to hear an important case regarding the use of Clean Air Act permitting authority to advance the EPA’s carbon agenda during the court’s 2013-2014 term.

My colleague Scott Segal said by granting cert, “the Court indicates that there is real substance behind the notion that EPA may have stretched its legal authority to the breaking point in order to address carbon issues beyond what was intended under the Clean Air Act.  Given that significant and well-crafted legal challenges are doubtless on the way for the power plant rules, the EPA would be well advised to take the opportunity to develop regulations that stick to the clear intent of the Act rather than pushing the envelope in favor of a political carbon agenda.”   You can always Call Scott (202-828-5845) or Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) for more background and quotes.

This week is slow in Washington on Capitol Hill as the government starts to ramp back up, but there are a few good events around town, including the ELI annual dinner and forum tomorrow.  Our friend and former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith discusses her and Austin A-S colleague Asher Price’s book, The Great Texas Windrush on Wednesday at the New America Foundation.  Also Wednesday, Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC with our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy among the speakers.  Finally, Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes.

On the Out-of-town scoreboard, this is AWEA’s Offshore Wind Week in Providence, Rhode Island with social events getting rolling tonight, and tomorrow/Wednesday featuring a number of great policy, technology and industry issue panels.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is slated to speak, following in the Ken Salazar tradition. News-wise, the Atlantic Wind Connection said today it is unveiling a new contracting portal for its New Jersey Energy Link project, the multi-year offshore transmission backbone, to help local contracting and service businesses to connect with one of New Jersey’s most exciting opportunities for new jobs.  (see below)

And with the government back on, EPA reloads its 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants with Wednesday forums in New York and Atlanta.  Last week, it cancelled its two sessions in Boston and Philadelphia, which have been rescheduled for November 4th and November 8th respectively.

Finally, the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013 will host nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, the annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.

 

Call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

New “The Fray” Video Features Ivanpah Images – As many of you know, we  were potentially going to Host a Newsmaker with the band, The Fray, today to discuss their new record and their interest in renewable energy.  But schedules got the better of us for the short time line.  In fact, I think the Today Show (slated for Wednesday) probably won out over a nerdy, wonkish energy policy discussion at the National Press Club.  But they will be back and with a little more time, the event will be scheduled for a future date.   BTW, their show Saturday at the Smith Center was very good.  Here’s a link to their new single video “Love Don’t Die”, which was released today and has some cool images of Ivanpah.

NJ Energy Link Contractor Portal Open for Biz – A new contracting portal for the New Jersey Energy Link will help local contracting and service businesses to connect to opportunities for new jobs.  The New Jersey Energy Link is a state-of-the-art electric transmission system buried underground and under the seabed connecting southern and northern New Jersey to fix long-standing problems that are causing higher cost electricity.  Building this storm-hardened facility will require all facets of engineering and construction disciplines.   The process of building the submarine and underground cable system and related electric substations is expected to employ approximately 1,100 New Jersey workers for three to four years, plus a permanent operations and maintenance staff of about 75 workers.  Because it runs at sea through New Jersey’s wind energy area, the New Jersey Energy Link also can be used to efficiently connect and deliver power from future offshore wind farms.   The New Jersey Energy Link could become the foundation for many thousands of future jobs in a new New Jersey offshore wind industry.  According to a study by IHS Global Insight, a large, multi-year build out of offshore wind farms could create between 10 and 20 thousand jobs in the state, pump $9 billion into the State economy and bolster state and local tax revenues by $2.2 billion.  Building an offshore electrical substation platform to connect the wind turbines to the transmission system would employ an additional 500-600 New Jersey workers for two years for each platform according to estimates by Bechtel, the project’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

NY Times Looks at Success of Solar Projects – The New York Times had a story late last week underscoring the successes of two loan guarantee solar projects, Ivanpah and Solana.  It discussed the successes and the role storage may play in expanding future endeavors in the desert.  Solana is a $2-billion project built with a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Close behind is the Ivanpah project in California, which uses a field of mirrors mounted on thousands of pillars to focus the sun’s light on a tower with a tank. Engineers say that design could incorporate storage efficiently, because the tank reaches very high temperatures. That plant will enter commercial operation by the end of the year.

Report: Pipelines Safest Method of Oil Transportation – A new report from Canada’s Fraser Institute authored by our friend Ken Green and his colleague Diana Furchtgott-Roth says pipelines are the safest option when it comes to transporting oil.  The study says a greater reliance on pipelines is much safer that transportation on trains or trucks.  The study, Intermodal Safety in the Transport of Oil, determined that the rate of injury requiring hospitalization was 30 times lower among oil pipeline workers compared to rail workers involved in the transport of oil, based on extensive data collected in the United States. Road transport fared even worse, with an injury rate 37 times higher than pipelines based on reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the period 2005-2009.  The study also found the risk of spill incidents is lower for pipelines per billion ton-miles of oil movement compared to rail and road.  Resistance to pipeline infrastructure expansion is putting more pressure on road and rail systems as growth in North American oil production outpaces pipeline capacity. Petroleum production is now nearly 18 million barrels a day, and could climb to 27 million barrels a day by 2020. Road transport had the highest chance of a spill, almost 20 incidents per billion ton-miles. Rail had slightly over two incidents per billion ton-miles annually while pipelines had less than 0.6 per billion ton-miles annually.  The above report’s timing proved perfect as this weekend another CN train carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude derailed just west of Edmonton.

Report Hits Supermarkets for HFCs – A new report from NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency says supermarkets are major sources of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners.  It also adds that the biggest U.S. supermarkets aren’t doing enough to stop leaks or transition to alternatives.  The report is timely since Montreal Protocol implementation discussions ramp up in Bangkok (insert any Hangover II joke) this week.

Renewable Energy Provides 30% Of New U.S. Electrical Generating Capacity in 2013 – According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 30.03% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the first nine months of 2013 for a total of 3,218 MW.  Natural gas dominated the first three-quarters of 2013 with 5,854 MW of new capacity (54.62%).  Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way for the first nine months of 2013 with 146 new “units” totaling 1,935 MW followed by wind with 9 units totaling 961 MW. Biomass added 57 new units totaling 192 MW while water  had 11 new units with an installed capacity of 116 MW and geothermal steam had one new unit (14 MW).  The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 77.36% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BIOCYCLE To look at Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling – The American Biogas Council will hold the 13th annual BIOCYCLE Conference today through Wednesday in Columbus, OH at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.  Biocycle is the official conference of ABC and will have industry experts and policy makers providing the latest technological information on how to turn municipal, industrial and agricultural organic waste streams into power, renewable natural gas, vehicle fuels and high-value digestate and compost products.  For press credentials, contact Rill Ann Miller, at 610-967-4135, ext. 22, or biocycle@jgpress.com.

JHU Forum to Discuss Rare Earth Elements – The Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum tonight at 6:00 p.m. in its Rome Building Auditorium on Rare Earth Elements (REEs).  REEs are chemical elements that are critical for your mobile phones, laptops, green technologies, and even defense systems. Despite the fact that REEs are more abundant than silver and gold with known reserves in Australia and the U.S., China continues to monopolize global REE supplies, which could negatively impact the national security interests of other countries.  Leigh Hendrix, associate at Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC; Marc Humphries, specialist in energy and mineral policy at the Congressional Research Service; and Michael Mazza, research fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, will discuss chemical elements that are critical for mobile phones, laptops, green technologies and defense systems.

EIA, World Bank Highlight AAAS Panel on Sustainability – Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society continue the Sustainability Challenge: Energy, Resilience, & Conservation series at the AAAS Auditorium tonight at 5:00 p.m.  Our friend Richard Harris of NPR hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht, Rob Gardner of ExxonMobil and the World Bank’s Vivien Foster.

Lott, Dorgan Headline Global Energy Summit – DLA Piper will hold its annual energy summit today and tomorrow, featuring BPC co-chairs and former senators Byron Dorgan and Trent Lott.  BPC co-founder and former senator Thomas Daschle, will speak tomorrow on a looking at American’s energy resurgence.  It addresses a February BPC report that looked at sustaining success and confronting challenges in the energy sector. The event will be held at the Park Hyatt Washington. Other speakers include House Energy Panel Chair Ed Whitfield, BP’s Mark Finley, API’s Kyle Isakower and our friend Pete Sheffield of Spectra Energy, among several others.

NatGeo to Screen Blackout Film – National Geographic will hold a panel session and screening of its new film American Blackout.  The film examines the repercussions of a cyberattack that shuts down the electric power grid by weaving together fictional stories of everyday Americans with video from recent, real blackouts.   Following the screening is a panel discussion on the potential for an actual cyberattack, the steps power companies have already taken to prevent damage to the electric grid and what additional actions are needed to respond effectively in the event of a potential, successful attack.  Our friend Matt Wald of the New York Times moderates a panel which includes NSA/CIA head Gen. Michael Hayden.

Women-In-Manufacturing Summit Heads to Detroit, Feature Auto Speakers – Nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country will meet in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday for the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013, hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, this third annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.  This year’s SUMMIT will include timely panel and roundtable discussions as well as valuable track sessions on topics including employee engagement, mentoring, networking, marketing, team building, online and digital training resources for manufacturers, and emerging issues in the manufacturing supply chain.  There also will be stimulating keynote presentations and a networking reception and dinner.  Featured speakers at the 2013 SUMMIT will include Carhartt COO Linda Hubbard, Toyota exec Latondra Newton,

Gwenne Henricks of Caterpillar and General Motors SVP Alicia Boler Davis.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – The EPA cancelled its two session in Boston and Philadelphia last week , but it looks like this week’s meeting of the 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants will be on.  They will be Wednesday in New York and Atlanta.  The cancelled meetings have been rescheduled for November 4th Boston and November 8th in Philadelphia.  No word on whether requests from members from coal states, who called for more sessions in their regions (which they say was purposely left off the list) will be set..  Other meetings include Wednesday October 30th in Denver, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

Nissan EVs to Be Focus of Oct WAPA Event – The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) will hold a luncheon with Nissan tomorrow at the National Press Club.  Erik Gottfried, Director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America will speak about the growing adoption of Nissan LEAF in markets across the U.S. With LEAF now price competitive with comparable gas-powered cars, people can easily see the benefit of giving up buying gas and driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF.  While sales have continued to rise in the traditional EV strongholds on the west coast like San Francisco, L.A., Seattle and Portland, a new wave of EV markets in the eastern half of the country have started to emerge. Sales are growing quickly in markets like Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Washington D.C., driven by a number of factors.  Gottfried will discuss this phenomenon, some of the reasons behind it for D.C. and other markets, and how factors such as infrastructure development are getting even more customers to consider driving electric

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner tomorrow at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.  The event will also feature a forum on energy issues and big data which will include comments from Intel’s Stephen Harper, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and others.

FERC to Hold Hydro Workshop – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff will hold a workshop tomorrow to begin investigating the feasibility of a two-year process for the issuance of a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI tomorrow through Thursday.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.  Interior Sect.  Sally Jewell will speak.

Galbraith Book Forum Set – The New America Foundation will hold a forum for our former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. discussing her book, The Great Texas Windrush.  Our friends Galbraith and Asher tell the fascinating story behind Texas’ unlikely wind-energy boom. In the late 1990s the small towns of Texas were being decimated by the oil crisis and few would have thought alternative energies might be the solution. But in a state known for bristling at environmental regulation, entrepreneurs, politicians, and environmentalists – from T. Boone Pickens to George W. Bush – saw the potential and began to embrace wind farming. By 2012, Texas was generating about 9 percent of its electricity from wind, and some of those same towns are now thriving in the shadow of 300-foot-tall turbines.

Forum to Discuss Clean Energy Deployment – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the roots of the Clean Energy deployment.  The Deployment Consensus, the reasons why a “deployment-first” strategy will fail, and why innovation-driven energy policies are the solution will be discussed.  A majority of clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies it needs to address climate change; what we lack is the political will to mandate and subsidize their deployment. To support this view advocates of this “Clean Energy Deployment Consensus” point to a number of studies assessing the technical readiness of clean energy technologies. Unfortunately, as ITIF shows in its new report Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus these reports often gloss over major challenges facing clean energy, including significantly higher costs, sub-optimal performance, and challenges in grid integration and storage. In addition many advocates miss the critical message of the need for innovation inherent in the literature. Without a comprehensive and aggressive innovation strategy clean energy will not be cheap enough and good enough to be adopted voluntarily around the planet.

Hispanic Energy Group to Hold National Summit – Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC on Wednesday and Thursday at the Heritage Center.  The groups launched the National Energy Policy Series in Sacramento, CA on June 24th.  Our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will be among the speakers.

Moniz to Discuss Energy Security Since Embargo – Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes on the anniversary of the Arab Oil Embargo.  The embargo dramatically impacted energy policy developments in the U.S. and elsewhere, spurring  investments in energy efficiency and alternative fuels, the creation of the SPR, the establishment of the IEA, and the creation of the Department of Energy. It also put in place a framework for viewing U.S. oil and gas resources as one of scarcity and energy imports as being inevitable. With new unconventional resource development in the United States, however, the framework is shifting to one of abundance.

Georgetown Alumni Group to Hold Climate Change Discussion – In the context of President Obama’s climate change speech at Georgetown this past spring, the Georgetown Club of DC welcomes to its luncheon lecture series a panel of distinguished alumni and faculty to address policies aimed at carbon pollution reduction, health, and conservation of water resources. Lunch will be provided; event is free for current students at Clyde’s Gallery Place on Wednesday 12:15 p.m.  Featured presenters include Michelle Moore (MSFS’99), Senior Fellow at the Council on Competitiveness and former advisor at the White House Office of Management and Budget; Laura Anderko in the School of Nursing & Health Studies; and Andrew Deutz (F’91) of The Nature Conservancy.

Luthi to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting its October Forum on Thursday at Noon in the University Club, featuring Randy Luthi, President of National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).  Luthi will discuss offshore oil and natural gas development, the Administration’s current 5-Year plan and views of Interior from outside.  Luthi became President of the National Ocean Industries Association on March 1, 2010 after serving as the Director of the Minerals Management Service at DOI.

Wilson Forum to Look at Greece Economy, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. on the future economic & energy prospects in Greece & the Eastern Mediterranean.  Speakers will include Asimakis Papageorgiou, Deputy Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Hellenic Republic of Greece and Panayiotis (Peter) G. Mihalos, The Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Hellenic Republic of Greece.

World Watch to Launch Central America Renewables Report – The Worldwatch Institute will hold the launch and discussion of a new report The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America.  The event will be hosted by the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C.  The report, produced jointly by Worldwatch and INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), and generously supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Energy and Environment Partnership in Central America (EEP), focuses on the status of renewable energy technologies in Central America and analyzes the conditions for their advancement in the future. It identifies important knowledge and information gaps and evaluates key finance and policy barriers, making suggestions for how to overcome both.  Speakers will include Alex Ochs of Worldwatch Institute, Christiaan Gischler of the Inter-American Development Bank  and Mark Lambrides of the Organization of American States.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next Monday at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum on October 28th in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit on October 28-30 at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas on October 28-30 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 29th at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday, October 30th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday, October 31st at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31 – November 1st at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on November 1st at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on our the BPC/NARUC websites.